At the end of July, the government announced £20m of new grant funding was to be allocated to Growth Hubs, specifically to help smaller businesses that have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic to access much needed professional support.
These grants will provide businesses between £1,000 and £5,000 to help them access or adapt new technology and other equipment as well as to pay for professional, legal, financial or other advice to help them get back on track. The grants could be used, for example, to cover certain support services provided by accountants.
The exact amount of the grants will be decided at a local level but are expected to typically be up to £3,000. Under certain circumstances the maximum grant of £5,000 may be awarded.
The support will be delivered from the England European Regional Development Fund. The funding has been allocated to Growth Hubs within each Local Enterprise Partnership and the scheme is expected to open shortly. It should be noted that this funding is extremely limited and available on a first come, first served basis. There will be no obligation for businesses to contribute financially as the grant will be fully funded by the government.
To establish a viable grant programme, the government has set a minimum of £250,000 for all Local Enterprise Partnership areas. The allocation of resources will be reviewed as the grant funding is delivered. The funding is being provided to address immediate needs and all grants must be awarded by 28 February 2021 and all activity fully completed by 31 March 2021.