More than£2 million of government funding is available to businesses in Stratford District and Rugby Borough who can demonstrate their ambitions for growth post-Covid.
Stratford-on-Avon District Council has been awarded £1.2 million and Rugby Borough Council has been given £916,176 from The Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) scheme, which supports businesses that are not covered by other grant schemes or where additional funding is needed.
Both local councils independently sought help from Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) Growth Hub to identify businesses that have been adversely affected by the pandemic that can outline and demonstrate a clear and robust recovery strategy.
Unlike previous rounds of the ARG where funds have been distributed during a period of survival to recovery, these new grants are to be strategically allocated to targeted businesses with growth a key focus.
Stratford-on-Avon District Council and Rugby Borough Council will look to support businesses that have plans which can show a clear and positive impact of the grants on their recovery, their growth and their ability to employ local people.
Craig Humphrey, Managing Director of the CWLEP Growth Hub, said this was not a rescue fund to sustain businesses through to the latter stages of the recovery from Covid-19.
He added: “The fact Stratford-on-Avon District Council and Rugby Borough Council independently approached the Growth Hub for our help underlines the great work of our account management team and the excellent partnerships the Growth Hub and the CWLEP have built throughout the area.
“With this stage of the ARG funding, we expect to be able to demonstrate the impact of real key strategic growth on each business as a vital outcome of each successful application.
“We are urging businesses in all sectors to apply who can clearly prove their investment in their recovery and growth.
“Both Councils want successful applicants to have been thoroughly vetted for the commercial viability of their business plan or proposal before going to the next stage of the process, and they will then decide which companies to support as well as the amount of funding to be allocated from the ARG scheme.”
Cllr Jo Barker Portfolio Holder for Business Rates at Stratford-on-Avon District Council said: “During the different phases of the pandemic, the Council has paid out over £70 million to businesses in grants and business rate relief. Stratford-on-Avon District Council is one of only a few Councils that spent all of its Central Government funding which has allowed this additional money to be made available. This demonstrates the tremendous effort from our staff to ensure that 100 per cent of available funding was distributed to businesses to help them through lockdown and closed periods.
“As restrictions are lifted this new funding now needs to focus on local businesses looking to expand, diversify and support jobs across the district. Our working with the Growth Hub throughout this period has demonstrated that by coming together to target this funding is the best way to help reach those businesses who are planning for the future.”
Cllr Jill Simpson-Vince, Rugby Borough Council portfolio holder for growth and investment, said: “Rugby Borough Council has already distributed more than £3 million in Additional Restrictions Grants to nearly 350 businesses in the borough, and we’re delighted to have secured this new allocation of Government funding to offer businesses further support.
“While previous ARGs focused on supporting businesses through lockdowns and pandemic restrictions, this new funding aims to drive the borough’s recovery from the pandemic by backing businesses which have robust plans for growth.
“Working with CWLEP Growth Hub, we want to provide ambitious businesses with the funding and support to grow, create jobs and boost the borough’s economy.”
These funds are limited so businesses that feel they are eligible to apply should complete an initial Expression of Interest form which can be obtained from https://bit.ly/CovidARGRecoveryFund. Once assessed, suitable businesses will progress to a full application.
This round of ARG funding must be allocated by the end of March 2022.