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£5,000 grants available to Essex businesses as part of £5million investment

17 Aug £5,000 grants available to Essex businesses as part of £5million investment

Essex County Council’s Business Adaptation Grant scheme is now even bigger and offering up to £5,000 to help local businesses adapt how they work and prevent the risk of Covid-19 spreading.

Small and medium-sized businesses across all sectors in Essex can now benefit from a grant of up to £5,000 to adapt how they operate and help to reduce the risk of Covid-19 spreading.

The Essex County Council (ECC) Business Adaptation Grant scheme was first announced back in October 2020 and in June this year, ECC announced it would be allocating a further £5million to support even more local businesses.

Grants will be paid to businesses that can demonstrate how the money would enable them to become more Covid-19 secure and ensure the health and safety of staff and customers.

Adaptations could include investing in ecommerce facilities, moving to a digital platform, supporting employees to work from home or purchasing ventilation equipment for their premises.

By the beginning of July this year, ECC had paid out 2,128 grants to business owners across the county to help them to adjust their premises or how they work.

Cllr Lesley Wagland, ECC’s Cabinet Member for Economic Renewal, Infrastructure and Planning, said: “We are so pleased to invest even more funding in supporting local businesses during what continues to be a difficult time for many.

“With this latest funding, our total investment in the Essex business support grants is £14.6million – a reflection of our commitment to supporting the business sector in Essex to not only recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, but to go on and thrive.

“I would encourage any small and medium-sized businesses, particularly those who have not applied for the scheme previously to find out more and make the most of the funding on offer.”

The scheme originally offered businesses grants of £1,500. However, based on feedback from local companies, ECC has increased the amount per grant so that business owners can make further and larger adaptations to help prevent the potential spread of the virus.

Local businessman, Richard Haywood, who owns Ashton House Media in Stansted applied for the ECC Business Adaptation Grant through Uttlesford District Council during the last round of applications.

He described how “highly efficient” the application process was, with funding received to move his business online within two weeks.

Richard said: “As a training provider, I used the grant to buy new audio equipment to produce podcasts, host webinars and paid for a Zoom business account subscription to deliver online training courses.

“I’m now working with clients overseas, so it has enhanced and expanded my business offering. I encourage other businesses to apply as any pocket of extra help is a godsend in these challenging times and can really help your business to move forward.”

Businesses who have previously been awarded a grant from ECC’s Business Adaptation Grant scheme can apply again, provided they have not received a grant within the last two months.

Grants are awarded via the district, city and borough councils across Essex and businesses should contact their local council to find out how to apply for the scheme.