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Mayor James Palmer launches Covid-19 Capital Grant Fund to boost businesses
13/04/2020

From the Cambridge Independent:

Mayor James Palmer has launched a region-wide scheme aimed at bolstering businesses for the longer-term, post the coronavirus pandemic.

A £2.3million ‘war chest’ of grants will be available for companies caught in the grip of the outbreak to help them strengthen for the future.

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority’s business board, which acts as the local enterprise partnership, wants firms to sign up online to check if they qualify for the resilience awards.

“Thousands of businesses are fighting for life and the Combined Authority is here to help them get through this,” said Mr Palmer.

“For many, hard cash to strengthen their ability to bounce back is what they most need, so we’ve revamped our scheme for small capital grants to make it more useful to smaller businesses struggling to adapt to an environment that’s changing so horribly fast.

“This measure will help some businesses win a fight in what looks like a long war for many. Much more will need to be done and the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority will be on hand to direct businesses towards the support available, and to make sure their concerns are heard at the highest level of government.”

The Covid-19 Capital Grant Fund will offer sums from £2,000 to £150,000 for new capital investment projects, such as buying new kit, building new extensions, updating production lines, IT infrastructure and upgrading logistics.

It is hoped that this will help qualifying companies survive the emergency and bounce back stronger when it passes.

“This is about acting for recovery and making the region sustainable again, it’s about using this dreadful enforced downtime to build muscle for the future,” said Mr Palmer.

“What’s on offer for firms who fit the criteria is immediate capital investment to help them adapt, alter direction, or equip for the post-Covid-19 world.

“We have to help business resilience, prepare for regrowth, develop new activities in new areas, and seize new opportunities that will bring people’s jobs back and secure them for the future.”

An email campaign has started inviting companies already on the Combined Authority database to check whether they are eligible to apply for a grant.

Where companies do not fit the criteria for the Covid-19 Capital Grant Fund, they will be directed towards other support resources, including the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Growth Hub.

Mayor Palmer added: “The government can provide cash loans to help companies keep afloat in the short-term, but the Combined Authority is looking further ahead, offering practical assistance to companies as they adjust to build their future beyond Covid-19 -cash to fix your assembly line, help you convert your restaurant into a takeaway delivery business, or help you switch your production line to support short-term demand issues. It’s about adapting not just to survive but to strengthen – so it could help you re-purpose your entire business.”

For firms interested in applying for a grant, visit capitalgrantscheme.co.uk