Gloucestershire Growth Hub gears up for SME recovery grants

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The Growth Hub

The Gloucestershire Growth Hub, established since 2014, a fully funded business support service available to all businesses across Gloucestershire, has confirmed an allocation of £464,655 of grant funding.

Back in July this year, the Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government, Simon Clarke MP, announced that communities will have access to financial support as part of the extensive economic recovery plans across the country.

The Gloucestershire Growth Hub has decided to best support the county by distributing the allocated funds to as many applicants as possible with an estimated grant size of £3000 per business.

With a wide business network across the county the hub has effectively supported the growth ambitions of more than 6000 businesses in the county.  Since the pandemic, the Gloucestershire Growth Hub has been working hard to provide direct, fully funded support to businesses who are working through the impacts of Covid-19 and who are now looking towards recovery as the county starts to get back to business.

Explaining the rationale behind the decision to award £3000 grants, Alex Cottrell, Growth Hub Manager said “Currently we have over 1000 businesses that have registered an interest in the grants. This is totally understandable given the current circumstances and the pressures that business 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.”

The Growth Hub is estimating the approval of up to 150 grants, representing a success rate of 15% of the 1000 businesses who have registered an initial interest. Speaking of this, Alex continues “As we start to release further detail around some of the grant eligibility criteria, we may see the actual number of applications reduce. But taking a steer from what has happened across other Growth Hub areas we don’t expect this to be the case.”

Ministries for Housing, Communities and Local Government and (MHCLG) have outlined the criteria for business who may apply, with the key criteria listed below, and a full list of available on the Growth Hub website at www.thegrowthhub.biz/grants

  • Businesses must be based in Gloucestershire.
  • Business must be fall under the SME definition – less than 250 employees and less than 50m turnover.
  • Business must have started trading before 1st March 2020.
  • Business must be able to demonstrate the impact of Covid-19.
  • Business must show how the grant allocation will support recovery plans.

Eligible grant applications will include activities including:

  • Purchase of specialist consultancy/advice.
  • Purchase of minor equipment that supports the adoption of new technology/business processes in order to continue to deliver or diversify business activity in response to COVID-19.
  • Purchase of minor equipment that supports the adaptation of existing technology/business processes in order to continue to deliver or diversify business activity in response to COVID-19.

Speaking of planned timings for the grant process, Alex advises “Now that the grant has been approved, we are putting in place the systems to open and administer the applications. As such, we hope to open invitations for the grants at the end of September. All successful applicants will then 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.”

 Do you need a recovery plan now?

Whether you are eligible for this grant or not, the Gloucestershire Growth Hub is fully equipped to offer your business effective business consulting and support to help you with your COVID-19 recovery plans. You can access up to £1500 of fully funded business support tailored to your specific needs, via a mix of dedicated consultant support, online workshops and events, all free to growing Gloucestershire SMEs.

The Gloucestershire Growth Hub has supported more than 6000 businesses since they opened their doors in 2014. From solo entrepreneurs to multimillion-pound companies, Growth Hub clients have been able to become bigger, better and bolder and put their growth plans into practice.

To start your Growth Hub journey simply visit www.growthhub.biz and take a look at what our teams can do for you now.

You can also follow our social media channels for the very latest updates and alerts. You can find us on TwitterFacebookLinkedIn, and Instagram.

Follow us on Twitter: @thegrowthhubbiz

The Growth Hub network, across Gloucestershire:

@growthhubglos

@growthhubchelt

@growthhubstroud

@growthhubciren

@growthhubtewkes

@growthhubforest

Since 2017, the Growth Hub project has received £3.4m of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.  The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for 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.  For more information visit www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding