National lockdown business support grants funding extended
If you have already received a grant from either the Additional Restrictions Grant or Local Restrictions Grant schemes, we will automatically pay grants for this latest lockdown period so there is no need to reapply. This will be a 44-day period from 16 February to 31 March.
If you haven’t already applied, Government funded business support grants are still open for applications for businesses suffering the impact of the pandemic during all the lockdown periods from November 2020 to the end of March 2021. These include the National Lockdown Business Support Grant Scheme, payments for Tier 2 and Tier 3 restrictions, the Additional Restrictions (discretionary) grant scheme, and the Wet-Led Pubs Christmas Support Payment, (applications for Wet-Led Pubs scheme close 28 February).
Please click here for detailed information on these schemes and how to register.
Cllr. Richard Morris
Deputy Leader and portfolio holder for economic growth and tourism.
Government announces £20 million SME Brexit Support Fund
The Government has announced a £20 million SME Brexit Support Fund to support small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) to adjust to new customs, rules of origin, and VAT rules when trading with the EU.
SMEs who trade only with the EU, and are therefore new to importing and exporting processes, will be encouraged to apply for grants of up to £2,000 for each trader to pay for practical support, including training and professional advice, to ensure they can continue trading effectively with the EU.
The Fund will help businesses to prepare for the implementation of import controls which come into force from April and July 2021.
More information about the SME Brexit Support Fund can be found on GOV.UK.
Chancellor eases financial burden to businesses
Businesses that took out government-backed Bounce Back Loans to get through Covid-19 will now have greater flexibility to repay their loans. The revisions mean that borrowers will now have the option to tailor payments according to their individual circumstances including an option to delay all repayments for a further six months. The Pay as You Grow scheme will be available to over 1.4 million businesses, which collectively took out nearly £45 billion through the Bounce Back Loan Scheme.
Find out more here.
Claim for wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended until 30 April 2021. You can claim for some of your employee’s wages if you have put them on furlough or flexible furlough because of COVID-19. Please click here for information.
An exciting year ahead at Worcester 6 Business Park
It’s been a busy 12 months at Worcester Six, one of the district’s premier business parks as the site continues to evolve and grow with some exciting new developments to report.
Work has now begun to deliver a highly energy-efficient, cutting-edge data centre for IONOS and its subsidiary brand Fasthosts. The development will comprise 38,501 sq. ft including 12,978 sq. ft of ancillary offices. Contractors, Bennimans, are delivering the building, which is scheduled for completion in August 2022. Progress on site can be viewed here.
With 820,000 sq. ft having been developed or contracted, there is a further 680,000 sq. ft available.
There has been a huge amount of interest in Worcester Six, and not just because of the first-class facilities available to occupiers. The business park has superb transport links. It’s a short hop from the M5, which has had several improvements completed at junction six, while the new Worcester Parkway railway station is just over four miles away.
The business park will also benefit from a bus route which will see numbers 38 and W3 diverted later this year.
The developers, Stoford have progressed significantly in their work to safeguard the environment and ecology at the park, which is classed as a ‘game changer’ site. You can read more about what they’ve achieved so far and what they are planning to do next on their website.
If you are in the market for a new building, then please contact the joint agents below.
Entries open for Worcestershire Apprenticeships Awards 2021
Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership and Worcestershire County Council have announced that the popular apprenticeship celebration event, the Worcestershire Apprenticeships Awards are returning in 2021.
The Worcestershire Apprenticeship Award evening is being planned for 18 November at West Midlands Safari Park.
Apprentices, employers, schools, careers leads and training providers in Worcestershire are being encouraged to submit their nominations via the new online nomination process, before the 16 July 2021 deadline.
The team will be following the latest guidance around the safety of events and will decide whether the awards will be physical or virtual later this year. The Worcestershire Apprenticeships Awards, in either scenario, will be taking place on 18 November 2021.
The 2021 Worcestershire Apprenticeships Awards will celebrate the most successful apprentices, employers, schools, and training providers across 12 categories.
This year’s awards will see the addition of a new award category to reflect on the impact of COVID-19. The ‘Apprentice Resilience’ award is for an apprentice who has shown great spirit of character and resilience in the face of 2020, both professionally and personally and rose to the challenges of the pandemic.
Nomination forms are live on Worcestershire Apprenticeships website. Nominations will be allow covering the last 2 years.
Click here for your entry forms. Please check eligibility criteria on each category nomination form.
BetaDen announces new cohort members
Worcestershire’s technology accelerator BetaDen has announced the identity of eight new early-stage businesses that will join its programme in April.
The new cohort includes businesses developing new technologies for a variety of commercial applications including vehicle automation, cyber security, Industrial Internet of Things and SMART infrastructure.
Linda Smith, founder and CEO of BetaDen, said: “We were impressed by the calibre of applications received for Cohort 4, which is testament to BetaDen’s growing reputation for adding real value to early-stage technology businesses and their customers.
“The new cohort includes both early-stage and more-established companies seeking to test and develop technology-driven ideas, including an Oxford University spin out and businesses with an established international footprint.
“As we head towards our third birthday in July, several recent cohort members have celebrated landmark contract wins and investment from the likes of HS2, the NHS, Amazon and Royal Mail. These successes demonstrate how our commercial focus on developing technologies that solve real-world problems, combined with access to industry expertise and networks, is helping BetaDen attract early-stage businesses with exciting growth potential to Worcestershire.”
Cohort 3 members, who are reaching the end of their time with BetaDen, will be also demonstrating their emerging technology solutions during an online pitch on Thursday 18 March.
The range of technologies on show covers everything from blockchain, property tech, drone tech, app tech and health tech to fintech and software debugging. Potential customers investors or other interested parties are encouraged to join Betaden online for this live event. Simply register your interest by visiting for further details.
Still time to access free specialist business advice
Worcestershire businesses are being reminded that there is still time left to apply for the Worcestershire Business Central, Specialist Business Advisers programme. The Specialist Business Advisers programme is being delivered by Worcestershire Business Central to support local organisations in accessing FREE expert advice on key business challenges. The support from these advisers is delivered in a 1-1 format with some larger virtual events coming before the end of March to help more organisations.
There are no eligibility criteria for businesses to meet to access the programme as both large and small employers across the county are encouraged to sign up. Businesses are required to sign up to the programme before the deadline of 31st March 2021.
This FREE programme involves the specialist advisers leading on a particular business challenge or area of expert knowledge. The specialist business advisers and the areas they cover are as follows:
- Marketing – Citizen Communications
- Adoption of Technology – borwell
- Access to Finance – Perrigo Consultants
- Sustainability – Shrewsbury Business Consulting
- General business support – Blue Orchid
Feedback from the events and 1:1’s that have already taken place has been overwhelmingly positive with businesses of all sizes finding it of real value.
To find out more on the programme and the upcoming events then please visit the Worcestershire Business Central Website for the full details.
West Midlands virtual expo
Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce have announced the launch of their new West Midlands Virtual Expo. With face to face events currently on hold their first jointly produced Business Expo is set to present an exciting week-long virtual experience enabling companies to meet new customers, prospective partners, and suppliers from many sectors. This will be the first major business event of 2021 and a first from the region’s leading business support organisations. Find out more here.
Coronavirus (COVID-19): what you need to do
The information available to businesses is changing regularly. We will continue to provide information as soon as we receive it. If you know of any businesses that would benefit from receiving these updates, please let them know they can sign up to our e-newsletter.