When it comes to setting up and running a business, funding is definitely the fuel that powers success. Every business will face set-up costs, and lean times when a financial boost is required. This is where business grants are so vital to the economy. Unlike a loan, there’s no repayment, so the injection of funds won’t add an additional burden to cash flow or make you feel that you’re mortgaging away your future.
The coronavirus pandemic has placed an enormous burden on SMEs, and there are several Government grants and schemes available to help businesses stay afloat, and ultimately bounce back. In this article, we’d like to look at business grants that are available for businesses based in Hampshire. Some are region-specific, some are nationwide; some are specific to trades, some are open to all types of businesses.
Available from 1 April 2021, this scheme has been created for businesses impacted by the lockdown. Businesses operating in the hospitality, leisure, accommodation, gym and personal care sectors will be entitled to a cash grant of up to £18,000. Businesses in the non-essential retail sector can apply for a cash grant of up to £6,000. Local authorities will determine eligibility, so to check if you’re eligible and apply for this fund, visit your local Hampshire council’s website.
The Rural Communities Fund encompasses funding for a broad section of rural community life – this includes parish councils, community projects and rural Hampshire businesses. The scheme offers funds up to a maximum of £5,000, and is also open to rural retailers. The fund has strict eligibility criteria and operates as a 50% match-funded programme. For more information, visit Hampshire County Council.
"Investing in an apprentice is a fantastic way to expand your Hampshire business" says Geoff Roy, owner of Hampshire based web design company Planet Wide City. You can train, nurture and facilitate recruitment into your business, knowing that you’re imparting skills and investing in the future of your company. The Government is currently offering incentive payments of £3,000 for employers hiring apprentices during 2021. This figure is usually set at £1,000, and it’s a fantastic incentive for businesses to help in the fight against unemployment and build a better workforce across a wide variety of sectors from web design to forestry.
Innovate UK offers funding and support for businesses that foster innovation and development. The scheme is designed to encompass a wide range of fields, from technology to life sciences. Traditionally, grants of between £25,000 and £10 million were available to eligible businesses; however, in order to protect these businesses during the coronavirus epidemic, an additional £1.25 billion has been injected into this scheme. This new package includes a £500 million investment fund for high-growth firms and £750 million worth of grants and loans for SMEs that focus on research and development. For more information, click here.
Here in Hampshire, we’re blessed with a booming economy, but the county is also very rural, with pretty villages and a wealth of parklands, forest and farmland. This can present an issue for SMEs operating in these communities, who have to cope with slow broadband speeds. To counter this issue, in 2018 the Government set up the GBVS. The scheme was created to help SMEs located in rural communities upgrade to gigabit speed broadband. Through it, small and medium sized businesses can access up to £3,500 worth of vouchers, to improve their digital connectivity. The new wave of funding launches on 8 April 2021, click this link to find out more.
This Test Valley Incentive Grant offers grants of £750 for small businesses that are starting up. The business must be located in the Test Valley district of Hampshire, be full time, permanent and the sole source of income for the owner.
This scheme offers discounts on the price of brand new low-emission vehicles, and includes cars, vans, small and large lorries. Grants are supplied via dealerships and manufacturers, which in turn pass the discount on to the purchaser. For further information on eligibility, visit the Gov.uk page here.