With government advice and support changing rapidly as the Covid-19 pandemic evolves, it’s hard to keep up with the latest news in business support and which Covid-19 funding can help your business. From closures, furloughed staff, huge drops in productivity and increased remote working, your business or organisation is most definitely not the only one facing uncertain times, as every sector faces immense pressure in knowing what to do next.

Here at Hethel Innovation, we’re still offering our support to businesses the best we can and understand our role is more important than ever as businesses start to adapt to new ways of working. So we’ve put together this live blog to feature all of the funding newly available for small businesses and start-ups during Covid-19, updating any changes as they happen. Whether you’re unsure if your business is eligible for any funding or need more information on how to apply, these direct links will take you straight to where you can find out more and get started.

Our entire team are always on hand to offer free support with funding bids, such as proof-reading, critiquing or any other queries. Get in touch with us regarding your Coronavirus concerns and any other questions by giving us a call or sending over an email.

For Businesses:

(Scroll down for the latest funding for charities)

Latest Funding Opportunity: Power To Change Community Business Renewal Initiative


Power To Change has launched a new £3million support package providing grants, 2 match funding programmes and tailored support to help communities protect their assets. The renewal fund offers unrestricted grants of between £10,000 and £20,000 in order for community businesses to adapt, renew and rebuild, with areas of priority being those in England with high levels of deprivation and organisations led by disabled people, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME)-led or BAME-supporting businesses.

Round Two – NOW OPEN closes Tuesday 12th  January 2021 4pm
Round Three – Tuesday 2nd March 2021, 10am-1pm

Social investment Business: Resilience & Recovery Loan Fund


The £25million fund for emergency loans to social enterprises and charities is closing for new applications on the 31st March. Social Investment Business has already approved loans of £100,000 – £1.5million with no fees or interest for the first 12 months to over 50 social enterprises and charities, which are unable to trade normally and face financial difficulty.

NOW OPEN closes 31st March 2021 11:59pm

The Job Retention Scheme (Furlough) – Extended


The scheme which saw many businesses through the first lockdown was due to end on the 1st of November, with the Job Support scheme taking its place. However due to further lockdowns in England through the end of 2020 and into 2021, the scheme has been extended to cover the period from 5th November all the way through until spring 2021. Employees will receive 80% of their current salary for hours not worked up to a maximum of £2,500. Businesses will still have the option to bring back furloughed worked on a part-time basis, or continue on a full -time furlough basis. The cost to employers retaining employees has also been reduced for this extended period, as they are only asked to cover National Insurance and employer pension contributions.

The Job Support Scheme (JSS) – Postponed


With the Job Retention Scheme (Furlough) now set to end in March 2021, the Chancellor Rishi Sunak may still bring in the new Job Support Scheme to replace it in the spring, to further support individuals and businesses. It holds string of different support solutions for businesses which are forced to close due to local lockdowns and those businesses who are open but struggle to bring in custom, to receive a percentage of their income paid by the government strictly depending on whether they meet the requirements.

Local Lockdown Business Grant


Businesses instructed to close during local lockdowns and the national lockdown (5th Nov-2nd Dec 2020) are able to receive financial support from their local councils. For every 3-week lockdown period, businesses that occupy a premises with a rateable value of less than £51,000 will receive £1,000 safety net to help protect them. Businesses with a rateable value of £51,000 or more will receive £1,500 for every 3-week lockdown period. Local authorities will receive a 5% top-up of funding to support other businesses affected by closures.

Government Kickstart Scheme


The new £2billion scheme to help young people into work will feel like a life-line for many 16-24 year olds who are deemed to be at high risk of long-term unemployment. For businesses who are seeking to create job placements for young people, the funding received for employer applicants could help make the decision a lot easier. Employers who are able to create 30 or more 6-month job placements can apply and receive 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week per job, plus National Insurance and funds for uniforms and other enrollment costs. The creation of 30 placements without replacing existing vacancies is a tough ask for some, therefore the scheme allows organisations to partner with others, in order to create the minimum 30 placements.
The scheme is open until December 2021 with the possibility of extension. Find all of the information through the link above.

Recovery Fund for Small Businesses


A new £20 million funding scheme launched by the Government is set to help smaller businesses recover from the effects of Covid-19. Small and medium sized businesses in England will be able to apply for between £1,000 – £5,000 to help them access new technology and other equipment to aid recovery and growth. The funds can also be used for legal, financial or other types of advice to help during this period. Funding has been spread between Growth Hubs within each Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), with a minimum of £250,000 for all LEP areas. So, for businesses in our region, contact New Anglia Growth Hub on how to access the funds.

Tier 2 business grants are also available to those businesses unable to open during tier 2 and are experiencing financial difficulties under version 2 of the Local Restrictions Support Grants (LRSG) and Additional Restrictions Grant.

BT Small Business Support Scheme


The BT Small Business Support Scheme is designed to build recovery and growth for SMEs following COVID-19 and features a range of support aimed at boosting connectivity, cash flow and confidence. Ultra fast business connections, mentoring services and bursaries of £1,000 for UK tech start-ups are all readily available by connecting BT Group directly.

Future Fund- For Innovative Businesses


In the works for UK businesses driving innovation and development, the new billion-pound support package named Future Fund, could be a saviour for keeping afloat in order to come out the other side of current lock-down. With the government announcing more ways that businesses can access this funding in the coming weeks, so far we know it can help SMEs focusing on research and development, as long as the business is an unlisted UK registered company that has previously raised a certain amount in equity investment from third party investors. The scheme has bee extended and will now close Monday 30th November 2020.

Bounce Back Loan


Helping SMEs bounce back, this loan scheme launched at the beginning of May, offering between £2,000 – £50,000. The length of the loan can extend up to 6 years, with the government guaranteeing 100% of the agreed loan amount, with no fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months, but with interest rates rising to 2.5% after that. With 11 lenders participating in this scheme, look to approach the most suitable lender for your business. If the first choice declines your bid, there is always the option to apply with another one. If your business needs more support with this, get in touch and we can lend a hand.

Business Interruption Loan Scheme


Here’s a different type of scheme for smaller businesses to access loans and other kinds of finance of up to £5 million. The government promises 80% of the finance to the lender and will pay the interest and any fees for the first 12 months. There are over 50 lenders supporting this scheme, however businesses will need to show that they have been greatly impacted by Covid-19 and that the business would be viable were it not for this.

Funding For Charities:

Front-line Charities Fund


This funding is targeted at front-line charities delivering vital work throughout Coronavirus, to which the government promises a £750 million pot. £370 million of this pot is allocated for small and medium sized charities making an impact during lock-down by delivering food, essential medicines, providing financial support, to name some. It is thought this funding will be delivered via means such as the National lottery Community Fund grant and government departments. Information states that departments are currently working to determine priority charities, with the aim to distribute the funding in the coming weeks.

For all available government support and advice during Coronavirus, visit the main government guidance page here. Or if you need more help finding which financial aid from this list is best suited for your business, give this Gov Financial Support finder a go.