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Gloucestershire Business News

Growth Hub presses pause as grant applications flood in

Applications for a financial package to help businesses recover from the coronavirus pandemic were suspended after a little more than an hour due to the demand.

The SME Recovery Grants are being distributed by the Gloucestershire Growth Hub, who received 200 applications within minutes of the applications opening yesterday.

Growth Hub manager Alex Cottrell said "We opened the online application at 10am and hit our first 200 application milestone within 65 minutes."

The Growth Hub was allocated £464,655 to distribute and estimated an estimated grant size of £3,000 to around 150 submissions, but had received more than 1,000 businesses register an interest when the amount was announced earlier this month.

And the demand was clear as applications opened.

Ms Cottrell said: "The online application page has been paused for two reasons.

"Firstly, to make sure businesses do not waste valuable time completing an application when funds may already be allocated and, secondly, to allow our teams to go through the first 200 submissions and assess them in terms of the grant type, amount requested and project eligibility.

"Once we have done this, we'll know what funds may still be available for the second round of applications, and if so, which grant they remain available for."

The SME Recovery Grants were announced by Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government Simon Clarke in July to provide support for firms as they look to recover following the coronavirus pandemic.

"We know businesses are going to be disappointed if they aren't successful in getting one of a limited number of grants, but we do want to remind everyone of the other types of support that they are entitled to from our Gloucestershire Growth Hub network," said Ms Cottrell.

"Since we first started in Gloucester in 2014, this is the first time we have ever had any form of physical cash.

"What we have done is help more than 6,000 businesses benefit from our free growth support, finding ways to help them grow through expertise, training, peer-to-peer networking and support."

She continued: "We know that that the challenges businesses face right now have not been seen over the last six years, but even so, I am confident that our fully funded teams of experts and business delivery partners can help. So, I would encourage all businesses to get in touch."

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