Grants of up to £50,000 will be offered to businesses innovating new ways of working and retaining productivity during coronavirus.Funding of £20 million has been announced, focussing on businesses in technology and research. The Government wants new resilience solutions in sectors such as delivery services, food manufacturing, retail and transport, as well as ways to support people at home.
Innovations could include:
- new technology allowing retailers to respond better to sudden spikes of consumer demand and improve deliveries across the UK
- new services for families to connect with and remotely monitor their elderly or vulnerable relatives
- creating education tools which seamlessly integrate the classroom with the home, allowing teachers to remotely set dynamic tasks and support vulnerable
The proposals will be reviewed as part of a competition launched by Innovate UK, seeking the best new ideas from businesses.
University of Cambridge’s free support to SMEs
A new accelerator run by the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) is offering free support to help SMEs rapidly innovate during the Covid-19 crisis.
SMEs based in the Greater Cambridgeshire and Greater Peterborough area will be eligible for support in finding new innovative ways to operate, adapt supply chains, and ensure that the needs of the most vulnerable are met.
Support will be delivered through a combination of one-to-one business support, capacity building and mentoring, as well as convening partnerships, and drawing on the collective knowledge of CISL’s global network to support small businesses via webinars tailored to local business needs.
Find out more, including how to get in touch, here.
Department for International Trade advice
The Department has emailed 160,000 businesses to let them know what support is available during coronavirus. 170 international trade advisors are reaching out to businesses with advice to keep revenues going.
To find your local trade advisor, click here.
Protection against non-payment for UK exporters
Government-backed UK Export Finance will offer export insurance in all major export markets in response to Coronavirus (COVID-19) to protect against non-payment.
The Export Insurance Policy scheme has been extended to major markets including the US and EU and can cover up to 95% of the value of an export contract.
The insurance will be available immediately. Click here for more information.
National Minimum and Living Wage increases
The Government’s planned increases came into effect on April 1. The National Living Wage for those aged 25 and over will increase by 6.2% to £8.72 an hour.
The Government has acknowledged the impact of COVID-19 and is directing people to the Business Support website for all the latest Government financial help and guidance.
Further workers’ rights also came into effect on April 6, including on parental bereavement leave and pay. For all the information on wage increases and rights, click here.