Funding scheme for small businesses extended for two months
Businesses looking to open new premises in Bristol have been given two extra months to apply for funding under a council scheme.
Firms can apply under the vacant commercial property scheme for up to £10,000 in funding.
The deadline to apply for grants has been extended to Monday 22 May, to support the start-up and growth of more small businesses in the city centre and on Bristol’s high streets.
In the 14 months since launch, the council’s economic development team has received over 340 enquiries and supported 70 new and expanding small businesses, charities and social enterprises allocating £604,000.
The grant has helped reduced the city centre vacancy rate by two per cent and the current grant recipients aim to create 306 new jobs within the first three months of their organisations starting to trade in their new properties.
Grants have been awarded to organisations in retail, hospitality, creative and digital industries, hair and beauty, health and fitness, arts and culture, and education.
All successful applicants receive support from the dedicated grant advisor and business development officers to help them understand their strengths and weaknesses, grow and sustain their business, manage their marketing, attract new audiences and are given access to other local services.
Craig Cheney, Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Finance, Governance, Property and Culture, said: “The Vacant Commercial Property Grant is proving to be a huge success and we’re pleased we can extend the deadline giving more businesses the chance to benefit. If there are businesses out there looking to open a new premises in the city centre or on one of Bristol’s high streets and think they might be eligible we urge them to get in touch and apply.
“We’re thrilled with the interest, number of enquiries and of course number of successful applicants that we’ve allocated £604,000 in grants to via the scheme. Each grant awarded means we’ve helped a new business get started on their journey. The grant gives businesses the financial support they need to take on a premises and trade with confidence and is helping to fill some of the vacant premises we have across the city as a result of the pandemic and cost of living crisis.”
The grant is open to businesses, charities, community interest companies (CICs), sole traders and arts and culture groups for both long term and temporary or meanwhile use.
Funding can be used for capital expenditure including structural works to a property or equipment to be used in the property. The amount of funding depends on the length of lease or rental agreement. Applicants will need to match the amount they’re awarded by 20 per cent.
Receiving £10,000 in grant funding meant that Trung Trinh, was able to complete the building and renovation works needed in order to open Vietnamese restaurant The Saigon Kitchen.
He said: “Our business plan completely changed because of the extra funding we could get. We’ve felt very supported from the beginning.”
Applicants are encouraged to become accredited Living Wage employers, making sure their employees are earning a wage they can live on, and have a clear commitment to sustainability.
The Vacant Commercial Property Grant forms part of the wider City Centre and High Streets Recovery and Renewal programme, which has received funding from the West of England Combined Authority’s Love our High Street project.