Solent LEP announced new Restart and Recovery & Kickstarting Tourism Grants launched 16th September.

Following a difficult 6 months, we have been extremely pleased to see many businesses returning to the office, trying to ramp up activity after the COVID-19 storm.

When Coronavirus forced the Government to issue a lockdown in March, we were shocked to discover just how many businesses were not in a position to accommodate an entirely remote workforce. We did our best to help and advise businesses, including offering free IT Advice and Guidance, but we witnessed many organisations suffer greatly due to not having the right IT in place.

Business owners must ensure that they have the right IT capabilities in place that enable a smooth transition into remote working at, quite literally, the click of a button. Especially now we are all facing “the era of the Pandemic".

We’ve been informing organisations throughout the last 6 months on ways to enable business continuity with IT, and when Solent LEP announced this week that new Restart and Recovery & Kickstarting Tourism Grants are now available, we realised that this is an opportunity for businesses to mitigate the risk of an uncertain future with the right IT infrastructure in place.

The Government announced on the 30th July that an allocation of £20 million in grants would be available, to help small businesses recover from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. These grants are specifically designed to help organisations that are trying to “get back on track” or that are currently transitioning staff to a “new way of working”.

The grants are available to fund new technology and equipment or even advice across areas such as professional, legal, financial and many other types of support.

Activities supported through the £20 million can include:

  • One-to-many events providing guidance to respond to coronavirus,
  • Grants (£1,000 – £5,000) to help businesses access specialist professional advice such as HR, accountants, legal, financial, IT and digital, and to purchase minor equipment to adapt or adopt new technology in order to continue to deliver business activity or diversify.

Further information about the scheme can be found here.

For the Solent region, this process has begun focusing on the Tourism sector forming part of a share of £375,000 in the Solent LEP area for the Restart and Recovery & Kickstarting Tourism grant fund, for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Eligible SMEs can access grants of between £1,000-£3,000 (and up to £5,000 in exceptional circumstances) of which this needs to cover 100% of the cost of product and service applied for.

A number of areas can be catered for within this grant, but the ability to introduce new technology and IT as we enter into a more Digital World is a welcomed example of funding. This is something we would urge organisations to consider, after seeing just how many businesses suffered unnecessarily due to poor IT set up when the Government enforced a lockdown in March.

We encourage businesses to speak with their IT providers and explore any potentially eligible expenditure on equipment (where a Covid-19 related impact can be demonstrated) they need to safeguard their future.

Here are a few suggestions from the Vissensa team to help organisations understand how they can utilise this grant to elevate their business from a technology perspective coming out of COVID:

  • IT hardware to support home working (excluding [the replacement of existing] PC/Laptop and mobile phones)
    • For example, this would include funding towards monitors and arms for desks based at home, Power over Ethernet (PoE) phones for users to make and receive calls from home, headsets and peripherals to assist with users working from their home.
  • Software to enable secure remote working
    • For example, this could enable many to migrate to Microsoft 365 or G-Suite helping to enable secure remote working, Microsoft Teams Telephony to allow staff to make and receive calls and communicate internally.
  • Cloud based storage
    • Microsoft 365 and G-Suite both come with cloud-based storage (OneDrive or Google Drive) as part of their subscription, but investment in technology will allow staff access to data or an onsite file server based at their offices.

Details of the first round of funding can be found here.

Note – this funding will close upon 1,000 applicants or by 11:59pm on 23 September 2020 – with expectations that the demand for the grant will be high.

To submit your application, click here. [Applications now closed]

Do you know what IT services or equipment you and your business need? Contact Vissensa today and we’ll help you identify what you need.