Small businesses set to benefit from funding opportunities.
Many of the announcements made by the Chancellor aim to ease the flow of capital to small businesses faced by disruptions caused by Covid-19. Some will be available for a short period while others form part of a longer term investment strategy.
The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme: Delivered via the British Business Bank to support the continued provision of finance to UK businesses during the Covid19 outbreak, with an additional £1bn being made available on top of existing support offered through the Bank. It will operate in much the same way as the current Enterprise Finance Guarantee but on more attractive terms for both businesses and lenders.
Start Up Loans extension: Funding for the Start Up Loans programme has been extended until March 2022, with further consideration about how to expand the programme at the upcoming Spending Review. The extension of funding will enable the provision of up to 10,000 more loans to new and early stage businesses. To date the scheme has made over 69,000 loans worth over £560m with 40% of recipients being women (compared to 22% of existing SMEs that are female led), 22% being from a BAME background, and 35% being unemployed when they applied.
Further support for innovative high growth firms: £200m has been provided to enable the UK’s high growth businesses to take full advantage of new opportunities now that the UK has left the EU. This is a continuation of the additional support provided in April 2019, and will be deployed by the British Business Bank through venture capital and growth finance funding partners during 2020/21 to ensure that innovative British firms can access more of the finance they need to grow.
Life Sciences Investment Programme: £200m of funding has been provided to the British Business Bank, with private sector investment expected to contribute around a further £400m, to unlock the potential of the UK’s best innovations in health technology and life sciences, allowing companies to grow and ensure the UK remains a world leader in life sciences innovation. The programme will launch within a year. This funding will build on the £350m of finance to life sciences firms currently supported by the British Business Bank through large-scale venture growth funds.
Enhanced local business support: There is a focus on local support for businesses where they are located. The government announced it will:
invest £10m to increase Growth Hub10 capacity and provide a high-quality, core business advice and guidance offer across all 38 Growth Hubs
invest £13m to expand the British Library’s network of Business and Intellectual Property Centres to 21 cities and 18 surrounding local library networks, providing entrepreneurs with business support, free access to market intelligence, intellectual property workshops and one-to-one coaching.