Crowdfunding Programme: Pay it Forward

We are are redirecting £600,000 from our Local Growth Fund for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to make sure that micro and small businesses can access emergency funding. The Solent LEP Pay it Forward fund provides support for existing micro and small businesses seeking to cope in challenging trading conditions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Government & Business Calls

There are a number of business opportunities arising as a result of this current situation, and we are aware of businesses gaining new pound contracts in the last couple of weeks. We are keen to share these opportunities with you as soon we hear about them.

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Small Business Recovery Grants (ERDF)

The Government recently announced a small business recovery grant and a Kick-starting Tourism Package. The funding being provided to businesses is supported by the England European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.

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Central Government Advice

Up to the minute advice from the Government can be found here: This includes travel advice and guidance on staying at home, as well as ongoing key information related to Coronavirus.


Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for health professionals and other organisations – Check here

Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for employers – Check here


Support for businesses and individuals affected by COVID-19


Rates relief and small business grants

The Government is providing £20 billion of business rates support and grant funding to help the most-affected firms manage their cashflow through this period by:

  • giving all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England a 100% business rates holiday for the next 12 months increasing grants to small businesses eligible for Small Business Rate Relief from £3,000 to £10,000 providing further £25,000 grants to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses operating from smaller premises, with a rateable value over £15,000 and below £51,000. This business rate support and grant funding will be administered by local authorities and further information on the scheme is expected shortly.


Small Business Loans

At Budget 2020, the Chancellor announced that a ‘Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme’ will temporarily replace the Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG), becoming available over the coming weeks. It will operate in a similar way to EFG and be provided by the British Business Bank, but will offer more attractive terms for both businesses and lenders, with the aim of supporting the continued provision of finance to UK businesses during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Further information is available here.


HMRC’s Time To Pay Service

Any business or self-employed person in financial distress and with outstanding tax liabilities may be eligible for tax support. For Time to Pay support if you are concerned about being able to pay your tax due to COVID-19, call HMRC’s dedicated Coronavirus helpline on 0800 0159 559.


Read the latest information about the situation in the UK, along with guidance for what to do if you think you’re at risk.

Check the NHSUK/coronavirus for information about the virus and how to protect yourself.

Use the 111 online coronavirus service to check if you need medical help. The government has published its coronavirus action plan and expanded its public information campaign.

Read Public Health England’s blog posts about its response to coronavirus and how it uses contact tracing to prevent the spread of infection.