West of England launches growth grants as part of Regional Recovery Plan

Bristol Arnolfini

The West of England Combined Authority (WECA) is launching new business growth grants as part of its recovery plans for the region.

Grants of between £1,500 and £6,000 will be available to support businesses from all sectors to adapt to challenges due to Covid-19. Funding can be used for activity that creates jobs, new products and services or increases productivity. For example, it could be used to:

  • Buy new equipment, such as new IT equipment or machinery to produce a new product.
  • Create new services – for example developing new digital marketing platforms to sell a new product or business service.
  • Adopt new processes or ways of working, such as adapting premises to begin new production processes.

Businesses based in Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol and South Gloucestershire will be able to apply for the grants between 22 March and 4 April, but can pre-register now. WECA will provide 80 per cent of the funding and businesses will be asked to commit 20 per cent.

West of England Mayor, Tim Bowles, said: “I want to make sure that our businesses and job creators are getting the help they need in these challenging times. These new grants are a direct response to what businesses are telling us they need to adapt, secure their recovery and seize new opportunities.

“The West of England Growth Hub is our one-stop-shop to help businesses find what they need. Whether that’s helping them to trade online, get help with finances, kick start some research and development, or find a business mentor. Together, we’re helping our businesses to adapt, improve their resilience and make get ideas off the drawing board.”

The West of England Recovery Taskforce, which met earlier today (February 24), welcomed the new grants. The Taskforce was set up, made up of senior figures from industry, education and local government, to drive the region’s economic recovery.

Taskforce member and Vice Chair of the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership, Katharine Finn, said: “This new £900,000 fund will benefit up to 300 small and medium-sized businesses. They are for businesses from all sectors and of all sizes, from sole traders to those with up to 249 employees.

“It’s good to see this new grant scheme, which is part of our Regional Recovery Plan, being launched. The recovery plan sets out how we will support businesses to adapt to the new economic landscape, as well as help residents to develop new skills, training and employment opportunities.”

Led by the West of England Combined Authority and the Local Enterprise Partnership, £9.4 million has been committed to supporting the Regional Recovery Plan, taking WECA’s total investment in businesses and skills to over £100 million over the next four years.

You can find out more about the grants, and pre-register on the West of England Growth Hub website, which provides SMEs with tailored one-to-one advice and access to finance, support programmes and expert guidance.

To help navigate the wide range of support on offer through the West of England Growth Hub, the Combined Authority has released a new Business Support Guide. The guide, which is being shared with small and medium-sized enterprises across the region, contains guidance on everything from business grants to the extensive range of support programmes now available.