In response to the demand for increased support for SMEs, government has committed an additional £20m from the England European Regional Development Fund to support the wider economy and help SMEs restart and recover.
The North East LEP area (County Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, Northumberland, South Tyneside and Sunderland) has been awarded more than £1.8m.
Eligible SMEs in the area – businesses deemed to have been directly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic – will be able to apply for grants of between £1,000 and £3,000.
The funds can be used to: access one to one expert advice on HR, accounts, legal, financial, H&S, IT / digital or sector specialists etc; and purchase minor equipment to adapt or adopt new technology in order to continue to deliver business activity or diversify in response to COVID 19.
To be eligible to apply for this grant funding, businesses must meet the following criteria:
• be able to demonstrate that the business has been adversely impacted by COVID-19
• it must be based in either Northumberland, Tyne and Wear or County Durham
• it must be an SME – employ fewer than 250 people and have a turnover of less that €50M
• it must have been trading prior to 01 March 2020 and still be actively trading
The Grant rate is 100%, but businesses will have to make the initial payment for the support or purchase and claim the grant back. The VAT element of any support or purchase is not eligible for grant support.
Applications for this scheme are currently closed due to an overwhelming response to the first phase of applications. The next phase of applications will open in early September.
Apply for the grant.