South Coast: £250K grant to boost recovery of Solent’s small businesses

The Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government has announced £20 million funding to help small businesses across the country, with a £250,000 allocation destined for the Solent. The Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has been keeping the Government informed of the situation in the region, and they welcome the announcement of this new funding allocated to help small businesses in the Solent recover from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

SJ Hunt, chair of the Solent LEP Business Support taskforce said: “The Solent’s small businesses, many of which are part of our rich visitor economy have been particularly affected this year, and this announcement is extremely welcome.

“Throughout the period of the pandemic, the Solent LEP has been working to support businesses to adapt and survive in this unprecedented situation. Our online support hub and toolkit continues to signpost businesses to various options of help available. In addition, we set up various funding streams including those directly supporting small rural businesses in the New Forest and the Isle of Wight; and our hugely popular crowdfunding scheme that has seen us match-fund diverse small businesses from right across the region, including hotels to music venues and photography and film services, continues to this day.

“The additional funding from the Government will ensure that we can continue our work to help small businesses adapt and change to whatever new ways of working and service delivery is needed.”

The newly announced support is fully funded with no obligation for businesses to contribute financially. Grants of between £1,000 and £3,000 will be available (with exceptional cases being able to apply for £5,000) to help businesses access specialist professional advice. This might include HR, accountants, legal, financial, IT and digital services, and it’s also available so that they can purchase minor equipment that will help them adapt or adopt new technology in order to continue to deliver their business activity or to diversify.

The funding is in addition to £157,000 announced for the Solent area from the Government’s £10m Kick-starting Tourism Package.

Once the LEP has received details of the funding they will make a further announcement on how businesses can apply. Businesses wishing to hear more about this new funding stream once it has become available should register their interest by emailing enquiries@solelep.org.uk