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A new £630,000 grant scheme to help small businesses across the Marches which have suffered as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic has been launched today.
Grants of between £1,000 and £3,000 are available through the Marches Small Business Recovery Grant, which will help both tourism businesses and those in the wider economy.
Only small businesses in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin and Herefordshire that have been trading for 12 months or more, with up to ten full-time employees and who can demonstrate a negative impact due to the coronavirus crisis are able to apply.
The package is worth £240,000 to firms in Shropshire, with £82,500 set aside for the visitor economy and £157,500 for wider sectors.
The grants will be available for projects running between November and January. Costs can cover specialist advice – including HR, accountancy, legal, financial, health and safety, IT/digital and sector-related consultancy – and/or equipment to address immediate needs in response to Covid-19.
It is anticipated there will high demand for the scheme, which will be run on a first-come first-served basis from its launch on October 14 at 9am.
Councillor Steve Charmley, Deputy Leader of Shropshire Council and Cabinet Member for Economic Growth, said: “This funding is really welcome and will help us to focus on supporting some of the smaller businesses who have been hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic.
“These businesses are vital to our towns and communities across Shropshire and employ many local people, so it is vital that they are shown support.
“I want to urge businesses to check the eligibility criteria carefully and apply as quickly as possible as there will be a very high demand and only a certain amount of money available.”
The Marches Local Enterprise Partnership region has been allocated £215,000 to support tourism businesses and £415,000 for businesses in other sectors through the European Regional Development Fund.
Gill Hamer, Chief executive of the Marches LEP, said the funding was vitally needed by small businesses across the region.
“We know the tourism industry in our region in particular has been ravaged by the impact of Covid-19 and these grants will offer some essential help at a time of great worry and stress.
“The impact on the wider economy has also been profound and we know from our own research that it is smaller businesses which have often been put at most risk.”
Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government, Simon Clarke MP said: “We have always said that we would stand behind our businesses and communities as we rebuild following the coronavirus pandemic. This new funding does exactly that.
“Businesses will be able to use these new grants to pay for the expertise, equipment and technology they need to adapt, recover and rebuild. Small and medium sized businesses are the beating heart of communities; they provide employment and contribute significantly to local economies and we are determined to give them the support they need to continue to thrive.”
The money is drawn from the European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations.
Applications will open on Wednesday 14th October at 9am so please take the opportunity to review the information we’ve initially provided on the dedicated website www.marches-sbrg.co.uk around eligibility and what’s needed in order to prepare and make a successful application.