A £300,000 funding programme for small businesses in towns and villages across Babergh and Mid Suffolk over the next three years has been given approval by councillors.
With many businesses currently facing uncertain and difficult times, the new fund scheme will provide a boost to businesses after the coronavirus crisis to help sustain and create jobs, provide opportunities to grow and innovate as well as react to the changing business landscape.
Small businesses from start-ups to those looking to expand, will be able to apply for a grant from one of four different funding streams:
- Growth and increased Productivity Fund
- Enterprise and Innovation Fund
- High Street Premises Enhancement Fund
- Environmental Sustainability Fund
The grants can be used in a variety of ways from improving environmental outcomes and sustainability, accessing professional advice and training, improving disabled access and business frontage or for the development of technology-based business solutions.
The grant value will be up to £2.5k for each of the funds except the Enterprise and Innovation Fund which will have a maximum limit of £5k. The criteria, eligibility and application process will be confirmed once the business grant fund programme is launched later this year.
Michael Holt, Babergh District Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Growth, said: “This new business fund demonstrates our commitment to driving growth and innovation whilst also recognising our High Streets needs and encouraging sustainability and reducing energy costs in our districts, which will be exceedingly important following the impact of COVID-19 on our business landscape.”
Gerard Brewster, Mid Suffolk Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Economic Growth, added: “We understand that small businesses are at the heart of our communities and this funding scheme can enable enterprise and economic growth to help businesses grow and diversify as well as increasing employable skills and aspirations to support the needs of the wider community.”
This new funding programme is entirely separate to the emergency help given to support individuals and businesses as part of the council’s immediate response to COVID-19 and instead looks to help businesses plan and deliver their future growth.
The business grant programme reflects Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Council’s commitment to supporting small and medium sized businesses, which make up 99.6% of the registered businesses in the districts, as was outlined in the Joint Open for Business Strategy adopted in February 2018.