Following its announcement that £464,655 had been secured from the government to support county SMEs hit by the Coronavirus pandemic, Gloucestershire’s Growth Hub is opening applications for the Covid-19 recovery grants on Monday 28 September 2020.
With demand expected to be unprecedented, and in order to allocate funds to as many applicants as possible, the Gloucestershire Growth Hub team made the decision to make grants of around £3,000 per business.
Growth Hub manager, Alex Cottrell, explained: ‘Currently we have over 1,000 businesses that have registered an interest in the grants. This is totally understandable given the current circumstances and the pressures that businesses continue to face. This does present us with a key challenge as we know that the funding that we have been allocated is likely to support about 150 businesses.
‘We have to distribute the available monies in a way which reaches as many businesses as possible whilst providing enough financial assistance to make a real difference to their recovery options. We also want to ensure that the allocation of funds is shared equally throughout the county.’
Key criteria for businesses who wish to apply stipulate they must be based in Gloucestershire, fall under the SME definition – with less than 250 employees and less than £50million turnover – have started trading before 1 March 2020, be able to demonstrate the impact of Covid-19 has had on their business and must show how the grant allocation would support recovery plans.
Businesses successful in being awarded a grant can use the funding on activities including the purchase of specialist consultancy/advice, and the purchase of minor equipment which supports the adoption of new or existing technology in order to continue to deliver or diversify business activity in response to Covid-19.
Following the application process, all successful businesses will be notified and instructed to go ahead and purchase the planned support activity. Once the applicant has paid for the support and provided required evidence of this, the grants will be released.
‘The whole process has to be complete by the end of March 2021, so we are doing everything we can to make the programme as simple to use and efficient as possible,’ Alex Cottrell added.
For more information, call The Growth Hub on (01242) 715400.