Has your business been impacted by Coronavirus?
Have you experienced a loss of productivity due to the lockdown, or social distancing measures?
Have you put staff on furlough, or suffered from lower cashflow due to customers paying later?
My apologies for writing to you in this impersonal manner, but the response to my posts yesterday has overwhelmed my capacity to reply on an individual basis!!
Why am I writing to you now?
As you are aware, the Government have announced a fund of £20 million to help SMEs recover. This is available as a grant of up to £5,000 (typical grant will be around £3,000) to fund professional advice and certain small items of equipment to help you adapt to the new reality of the post-COVID economy (like a booking App or new IT equipment to facilitate remote working).
Applications will be via a form on the website of your local LEP, and can be used to fund accountancy services, HR, legal, financial or IT advice, as well as the small equipment noted above.
The application form is not yet available, but our two Local Enterprise Partnerships hope the grant will be open by the end of August.
Grants will be given on a first come, first served basis, so now is the time to collate the information you'll need to make an application.
Why should you bother?
1. Every good business has a cashflow forecast and now the Government will pay for it.
2. It's a grant, so you don't have to repay it.
3. There's no need to match fund the award, so you don't have to put any cash into it.
4. We are offering our cashflow forecasting service at a massive discount, so you can get the Government to pay and have something left over to pay us to monitor your performance
5. It can pay for the other advice that makes the difference between survival and failure
6. We'll even help you apply, and our fee will be contingent on a successful outcome, so there's no risk to you.
What should I do now?
1. Get in touch with one of our team members, and we'll help you collate the information before applications open, so you are at the front of the queue when the cash is made available.
2. Check you are eligible by answering the following questions:
a. Do you employ fewer than 250 people?
b. Is your annual turnover less than €50M, or your balance sheet total less than €45M?
c. Are you less than 25% owned by another company or combination of companies?
d. have you received less then €200K in State Aid over the last three years (this includes some COVID support and the Employment Allowance of £4,000 per annum).
e. For tourism businesses only, is your Companies House SIC within the defined categories, or would it be if you were a limited company?
Certain industries do not qualify. You can find that list at https://www.heartofswgrowthhub.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/Growth-Support-Kickstart-Scheme-Information-and-Guidance-19Aug2020.pdf
What information do I need?
Guidance is being developed by each LEP individually, but here's what we know from our local one, The Heart Of The South West LEP, who updated their guidance on Wednesday!
1. Basic details of the business (name, address, telephone number, Co reg number, VAT Reg no. if applicable). I'd also make sure I had my HMRC UTR if I was a sole trader or partnership.
2. Turnover per last accounts
3. Estimated turnover for the current trading period
4. Turnover to date
5. What percentage of income derives from the visitor economy (tourism businesses only)
6. No. of employees as at 31/12/2019 (guidance says 2020 but that must be a mistake).
7. No. of currently active employees (i.e. excluding those on furlough).
8. No. of jobs at risk if funding is not received.
9. No of jobs to be created by the activity you propose to support your business recovery
10. Amount of State Aid received
11. A description of how your business was impaired by COVID
12. Within the above, what have you done already to address the impact of COVID in your business.
13. What other financial support have you received (from all sources, including family?
14. How will the Kickstart grant help?
15. What would be the impact if you didn't receive a Kickstart Grant?
16. Get a written quote (or more than 1) for the goods/services you intend to purchase using the Grant. The quote must contain the details set out in the document linked above.
17. If buying online, provide screenshots including the date and web address.
This a huge amount of information and the guidance refers at one point to "Question 24", so be prepared!!
If you need more help with the application process, or the information gathering exercise, let us know and we can help out as part of our contingent fee arrangement.
I hope this helps you recover and thrive in the new reality. Let me know if you'd like our help.