New programme helps businesses recover and restart
Published: 31 July 2020
Following The North of Tyne Combined Authority’s recent pledge of £5 million to help businesses and communities in the North of Tyne area respond to Covid-19, a grant of £1.5 million from the Covid-19 Capacity fund was secured by Northumberland County Council.
An element of the funding allocation is being used to fund The Northumberland Covid Business Response (NCBRP) programme which will be delivered by Advance Northumberland on behalf of the County Council and the Northumberland Business Hub. The Northumberland Business Hub was established by the County Council to support businesses through COVID19, and is at the heart of their plans for recovery.
The programme has two distinct areas of delivery in helping eligible businesses in the county as they look to adopt to new market opportunities and new ways of working and engaging with customers.
The Business Advantage element of the fund will allow Northumberland based small, medium and large businesses to explore and develop new methods of delivery, supported by expert 1-2-1 coaching. Eligible businesses will have access to 12 hours 1-2-1 coaching or consultancy to explore new methods of business delivery, increase productivity or become more resilient. All coaching and consultancy will be delivered by sector experts and will address the issues SMEs are facing such as a loss of income, forced closure, collapse of supply chains, redundancies, debts, and investment plans being put on hold.
There is also a digital element to the programme. Digital Advantage will enable SMEs from across Northumberland to introduce digital tools into their day to day business activity. These tools include e-commerce websites and proactive digital marketing campaigns to expand and reach new customers and build digital capacity within the business base across the county. All the support is fully funded meaning that eligible businesses without a fully functioning e-commerce website can have one created bespoke for them at no cost to their business through the programme or service lead businesses will be able to have a bespoke marketing campaign delivered for them on their behalf.
It will also give small to medium enterprises within Northumberland the opportunity to introduce digital into their daily business routines. There is also provision to support businesses in the hospitality industry to create a bespoke mobile app for their business allowing them to adhere to government guidelines and take orders and payment with limited contact. The Mobile Apps will also have the functionality to feed directly into the Government Track and Trace system.
Peter Jackson, leader of Northumberland County Council and North of Tyne Combined Authority Cabinet Member for Place and Productivity, said: "I am very pleased to see these programmes get underway - targeting some of the key areas of business which have suffered so badly over recent months, and supporting them as lockdown measures begin to ease.
"Through our Northumberland Business Hub we are working on many fronts to do everything that we can to support businesses in the county through these challenging times - bringing in as much funding and support as we can, and providing specialist services and advice locally to deal with the issues that are being faced.
"We are putting in place measures to drive Northumberland’s economic recovery.”
Each of the three support strands has defined eligibility criteria and SMEs are able to register their support through the newly launched NCBRP website northumberlandbusinessresponse.co.uk
Once registered, a member of the Northumberland Business Hub team will be in touch with next steps.
Interest is expected to be high therefore businesses are urged to register quickly in order to take advantage of this time limited offer.