SMEs offered cash boost to help aid economic recovery

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Businesses across Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire can benefit from grants of up to £3,000 to boost economic recovery from Covid-19.

The Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Growth Hub has launched two funds – from a total pot of £872,000 – to help support SMEs across the region.

The SME Restart Programme and the Kickstarting Tourism Programme will provide local businesses with grants from the European Regional Development Fund.

Eligible businesses can use the money for everything from seeking professional advice to buying a new piece of equipment.

SMEs whose trade is 100 per cent business-to-business can apply to the Restart Programme while SMEs which are located in a tourist area and are dependent on visitors can apply to the Kickstart scheme.

Growth Hub manager Nicola Kent said: “The Growth Hub is pleased to have been able to support Staffordshire businesses throughout the pandemic and we are thrilled to have this money at a time when it couldn’t be more vital for many businesses, especially those in the tourism sector.

“We hope these small grants will help our economy to recover and enable businesses to bounce back stronger than ever.”

The funding will be distributed on a first come, first served basis and businesses are now being urged to complete an expression of interest form.

A dedicated web page on the Staffordshire County Council website has been set up where people can get more information about the fund, check their eligibility and fill in the form. Those who are eligible will be sent an application pack so they can make a formal request.

Businesses can use the funding in a variety of ways to help them in their economic recovery from the pandemic. For example, purchasing contactless payment solutions or software as well as new equipment which will help to enhance productivity.

The funds can also be used for HR, accountants, legal, financial, digital or sector specialists.

Andrea Sammons, senior marketing officer for Enjoy Staffordshire, said: “Tourism contributes £1.85 billion per year to Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent’s economy, as well as providing over 32,000 jobs. These grants can make all the difference for many small and micro tourism, hospitality and leisure businesses such as B&Bs, tea rooms and small visitor attractions.”

To register an expression of interest, and for further information, click here.


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