Restart fund awards cash to small businesses to help drive recovery

Fifteen small businesses in York have today – 12 May- been awarded £1,000 grants from the York Restart Fund to give their business plans a boost.

The York Restart Fund was set up by First Bus York with the backing of the FSB (Federation of Small Businesses) in North Yorkshire to help small businesses in retail, leisure, hospitality and other consumer sectors accelerate their recovery from lockdown.

Small businesses had to make their case for how they would use the funding through an online application.

The 15 successful firms to receive the funding were decided by a judging panel of Marc Bichtemann, managing director of First Bus York and Carolyn Frank and Simon Williams of the FSB, who reviewed more than 100 applications.

The list of businesses includes a wide cross-section of trading activities from homewares, coffee houses and bars, beauty salons and dairies to bakeries, gifts, hats, arts and crafts, artefacts and accommodation.

Bichtemann said: “We were overwhelmed by the interest in the Fund and it helped to generate many innovative and dynamic ideas. This made it very difficult in choosing which ones to give the financial support.

“This cash boost will help grow thriving and successful independent small businesses on the streets of the city and our outlying communities which are a vital and uplifting part of York’s recovery from lockdown.”

Carolyn Frank said: “It was clear from reading the entries that whilst the pandemic has had a severe impact on trade, York’s businesses are now firmly focused on the future and welcoming their customers back to the city.

“The York Restart Fund is helping them to do that by supporting business improvements.”

The firms will now be competing for public support to get a share of a further £5,000 from the Fund.

A People’s Choice vote begins next week – Monday 17 May-Thursday 20 May – with the top three businesses awarded £2,500 for 1st, £1,500 2nd and £1,000 3rd place.

Voting will be counted on a dedicated page of the First Bus York website showcasing the 15 businesses and their owners and also from ‘Likes’ posted on @FirstBusYork Instagram. These will be live from Monday 17 May.