Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen has today (30 July) expanded a fund to help businesses access advice following the coronavirus outbreak, to include even more small and medium-sized businesses.
The Back to Business Fund, launched by Mayor Houchen on July 17, offered businesses in the hospitality and visitor economy grants of up to £3,000 to cover the cost of professional advice that supported business recovery.
Now this scheme has been expanded to help small and medium-sized businesses across Tees Valley in the vast majority of other sectors, allowing them to access grants of £1,000 to £5,000. The grants can help them access new equipment and technologies or direct professional support and guidance in areas such as HR, accountancy, legal, financial, health and safety, IT and digital.
Mayor Houchen has secured £929,000 from Government for the second phase of Back to Business funding, to help companies access specialist advice to help mitigate the impact of coronavirus or to address new opportunities for innovation, scale-up and growth.
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “I’m delighted to announce that today we can make almost £1million available for the second round of our Back to Business Fund that I launched a fortnight ago. Small and medium-sized businesses and the jobs they support are the lifeblood of our economy, and these firms can now get financial help when seeking advice on recovery following the coronavirus.
“We cannot thrive as a region without these businesses, that’s why I made supporting them through the uncertainty caused by the coronavirus a priority for my plan for jobs.
“I launched my £1million Welcome Back Fund to support our amazing pubs, restaurants, venues; supported apprentices with almost £1million through an Emergency Apprenticeship Scheme and with £250,000 through the first phase of the Back to Business Fund, and I will continue to make sure businesses across Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool have the support they need.
“I’d also like to say a big thanks to those professional advisers who have already come forward to offer their help to and signed up with Tees Valley Business. As demand grows through this new fund, though, I’d urge even more to see how they can play their part.
“We need to work together to get our region back on track, ensuring our businesses continue to grow, creating jobs for local people for years to come.”
Businesses interested in applying for funding should initially submit an expression of interest through the online form available on the Tees Valley Business website, www.teesvalleybusiness.com, where they can also find out more information and ERDF eligibility criteria.