14th Sep 2020

£20 Million in New Grants to Boost Recovery of SMEs

SME Restart and Recovery Grant – open Tuesday 15th September 2020

Positive news to help your business start / continue on the road to recovery. The Government has made £20m of funding available to boost small businesses recovery from the Coronavirus pandemic. This grant opens on Tuesday 15th September at 10.30am with expressions of interest and then fully open from 12pm that same day!

Could this be the grant that is the spark that builds the momentum needed to get your business to change gear and accelerate out of survival mode and back into growth!!

Some of the main drivers of the grant are to encourage SMEs to focus

  • on strategic and cash planning and / or
  • to implement new Digital Technologies such as a cloud accounting system like Xero and supporting process.

Blu Sky is the perfect partner and sounding board to help you build out and implement your businesses new strategic plan or embed cloud accounting technologies into you finance function.We you consolidate where your business is today, where you want to get to and the key objectives needed to get you there.

If you would like to speak with any of Blu Sky about the grant or any other services, please get in touch with the team.


How much is the Recovery Grant?

The North East LEP area (County Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, Northumberland, South Tyneside and Sunderland) has been awarded more than £1.8m.

It’s funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The eligible SMEs can access grants of between £1,000 – £3,000 (up to £5,000 in exceptional circumstances) for specialist advice.

There is no obligation for businesses to contribute financially as the grant is fully funded.

First come, first serve

Given the current state of the economy, the scheme is guaranteed to be very popular. Therefore, funding is extremely limited. Expressions of interest (EoI) should be made as soon as possible after the scheme opens.

There is no waiting list so decisions will be made on a first come, first served basis.

The gateway diagnostic will close when the expression of interest (EoI) limit has been reached.

If successful, how long will the business have to wait to receive the grant?

Grant payments will not be made until up to 10 weeks after the purchase of the item or service the business has paid and claimed for. The business will be paid upon production of an invoice for the service.

Who is eligible for this grant?

  • 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.
  • it must generate 51%+ of its income from commercial sources – donations, grants and contracts awarded without a competitive process are not classed as commercial income.

What expenditure is eligible?

The grant is available to help SMEs access one-to-one specialist advice to address their immediate needs. The grant must cover 100% of the cost of the service or product and cannot be used to part-fund expenditure

Examples of eligible expenditure that you could potentially provide them yourselves:

  • Review of the business strategy, including strategic and business plans.
  • Coaching and mentoring in leadership and management development / Change management.
  • The introduction of new technology – for example apps to help with forecasting, cashflow and budgeting
  • Rebuilding a viable business model.

Please note these are examples only and not an exhaustive list. 

How will businesses be assessed?

Key eligibility checks will also take the following into account:

  • Their potential to respond/adapt/strengthen from the impact of COVID-19
  • The ability to identify opportunities to rebuild following the impact of COVID-19
  • The ability to deliver within the timescales available (one month)

For more detailed information and everything you need to know click here North east growth hub