COVID-19 Recovery Grants from the London Business Hub – Frequently Asked Questions
When will the grants be launched?
We will launch the Grant Scheme at 10:30am on Friday 16th October 2020.
How much funding is available?
The grant is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) . The London LEP Area has the following funds to allocate:
- Visitor Economy: £377, 210
- Wider Economy: £1,081,112
Grants are available of £1,000 – £5,000 per business.
Am I eligible to apply for the grant?
All applicants will need to confirm the following to be able to access the online application form:
- My business is based and operational in Greater London (the business must at least have a London trading address).
- My business is a Small or Medium Enterprise (SME).
- Has less than 250 employees.
- Has less than €50m turnover or balance sheet of less than €43m.
- Does NOT hold 25% or more capital or voting rights in another business.
- Does NOT have another company hold 25% or more capital or voting rights in the business.
- My business started trading on or before 1st March 2019 and is still trading.
- My business has been adversely impacted by COVID-19.
- My business has not received a total of more than €200,000 State Aid in the past 3 years (What is State Aid?).
- The activity I am applying for is to assist with my COVID-19 recovery plans, and is not “business as usual” or related to personal protective equipment (PPE), social distancing, or other regulatory activity.
- This grant support is vital to progressing the activity I am applying for (i.e. the activity wouldn’t be possible without the grant support).
- The activity I am applying for has not already started (and cannot have started before the grant offer letter has been issued).
- I understand that ONLY those applicants who complete a full application and supply ALL supplementary evidence will be considered for a grant.
- I understand that the grant will be paid in arrears. Businesses can apply for 100% of the costs, but please note that funding will be paid in arrears. Therefore, grant payment will be made after you have accepted the grant offer and have purchased and received the support or items that the grant has been approved for.
- I understand that I have one calendar month from the date of the grant offer letter to accept the offer and purchase and receive the support or items that the grant has been approved for.
- I confirm that there is a dedicated bank account for the business.
- I understand that I may be asked to supply further evidence to demonstrate the impact of COVID-19 on my business.
This grant fund is for businesses that are part of the Visitor or Wider Economy.
All applicant businesses will need to submit a SIC code as part of the application process. What is a SIC Code?
Please click here for details of the eligible standard industrial classification of economic activities (SIC) codes for the Visitor Economy (Tourism Sector).
If your business does not fit into the list of SIC codes, but you believe your business contributes to or is impacted by the Tourism and Visitor Economy, you can still apply for the grant. You will be asked to explain why you think your business qualifies for the grant as part of your application.
All Wider Economy business applicants will also need to provide their SIC code as part of the application. A full list of SIC codes can be found here.
Some businesses are not eligible for ERDF support. For example we cannot accept applications from businesses who operate in the following sectors:
- Fisheries and aquaculture.
- Processing and marketing of agricultural products.
- Schools/school age educational establishments.
- Insurance companies.
- Primary production, Coal or steel, Synthetic Fibres.
If your business is from one of the sectors in the list above, you are not eligible for ERDF support and your application will be unsuccessful.
How much money can my business apply for?
Businesses can apply for a grant of up to £5,000. Applicants will need to specify what activity/support the grant will fund, provide a quote from a chosen supplier for that work, and justify how the grant-funded support will help their business recover from the impact of the COVID-19.
You must also be able to demonstrate that the business is unable to fund the full cost of the activity without grant support, and no single item of equipment or activity should be over £5,000.
The grant must cover 100% of the cost of the activity/service your business is procuring (up to a maximum total project value of £5,000). This grant cannot be used to part-fund expenditure; if the activity or support to be undertaken exceeds £5,000, you cannot fund the rest of the activity through the business. You will also not be able to part-fund the services but then claim the full amount; in order to receive the grant funding, all services and support must be fully paid for and evidenced.
Please note that, if successful, you will need to fund the full project/grant activity and claim the approved costs back after it has been completed. You must not pay for any equipment or services before you have been officially awarded the grant; any payments made prior to signing your grant offer letter will not be eligible for funding.
How do I apply?
Applications will be made online via the London Business Hub website. Applications will close when we reach a limit, and from these applications, businesses will be selected via a competitive process.
Applications that best demonstrate the following will be prioritised.
- A clear impact of COVID-19 on your business.
- Your proposed activity to address the impact.
- How the proposed activity will positively impact your business through adapting products and services to meet customer needs, building resilience or minimising future business interruption.
How long will the grants be available?
The website will open for applications on Friday 16th October 2020. Bids will then be assessed against eligibility criteria and prioritised on evidence of need and impact. If eligible applications exceeds available funding, bids will also be prioritised in order of date/time received. In addition, and in order to support our work to address the barriers faced by BAME, women and disabled owned businesses[footnote 1], eligible applications from these groups will be prioritised against other bids ranked equally in terms of need and impact, should a tie break situation occur. This will ensure that successful bids are representative of London’s population demographics [footnote 2].” Should a second tie break situation occur between the groups facing barriers, the applications, between these groups, that were submitted at the earlier time/date will be prioritised.
The application process may be paused temporarily depending on the volume of applications received and the amount of funding remaining. If applications are paused, an initial assessment will take place of all applications submitted to date and the remaining amount of funding will be reviewed. Once this initial assessment has been completed and if funds remain, applications will re-open until the remaining funding has been allocated. We will give one week notice if the grants reopen for applications and will update this web page as well as communicate the new date via social media.
What can I use the grant for?
The eligible activity for the Visitor Economy and Wider Economy applications are the same. The grant must be specific to the SME, and used only for activity/support/services that help the business to respond to the impact of COVID-19. Examples of eligible activities include:
- Purchase of specialist consultancy support or external expertise. Examples include:
- HR professional services.
- Legal professional services.
- IT professional services.
- Product Development / diversification.
- Strategic Development.
- Finance support and restructuring.
- Marketing consultancy, services and planning.
- Other digital services.
- New markets research and development.
Please note these are examples only and not an exhaustive list.
- Purchase of minor equipment that support the adoption of new technology / business processes in order to continue to deliver or diversify business activity in response to COVID-19.
- Purchase of minor equipment that support the adaptation of existing technology / business processes in order to continue to deliver or diversify business activity in response to COVID-19.
Please note that the grant claim and activity undertaken must not exceed £5,000 in total. If the grant-funded support, activity or equipment claimed is more than £5,000, the support will be ineligible.
This grant cannot be used to part-fund expenditure; if the activity or support to be undertaken exceeds £5,000, you cannot fund the rest of the activity through the business.
These grants cannot be used to:
- Support businesses with working capital.
- Support businesses to fund the payment of wages.
- Purchase equipment and consumables associated with PPE and social distancing measures, or fund small scale building works in response to physical changes to implement social distancing.
- Fund activities which would contradict, duplicate or undermine HM Government domestic initiatives.
- Fund core organisational costs, such as air con adjustments to address air circulation, personal storage/lockers, bicycle racks, showerblocks, etc.
- Purchase capital items over £5000.
- Fund building works.
- Fund training.
- Fund retrospective activity or purchases.
Do I need quotes for the activity I want to fund?
Yes, you will need to provide a quote for the chosen supplier for the service/s or purchase/s you want to fund. The grant will only cover costs made to one supplier and the grant claim must not exceed £5,000 in total. Multiple suppliers will not be accepted. It is important to justify how each service or purchase will help your business recover from the impact of COVID-19. Failing to do so will deem the bid application ineligible.
A quote must clearly match the services/items detailed in your application.
What information should a quote include?
A quote for services or product purchases to be funded by the grant should include:
- Supplier Business name & address.
- Applicant Business name & address.
- Description of activity/service/product.
- Total cost of activity/service/product.
- Date the quote was provided (please be aware this activity cannot have already been commissioned or started).
Screenshots of online catalogues should clearly show:
- The item.
- The web address of the item.
- The date that the screenshot was captured.
Acceptable file formats for a quote are Word document, Excel spreadsheet, PDF or
PowerPoint Presentation, JPG or PNG image file.
What can I do now to prepare for my application?
Ensure you have the following information available:
- General business information such as registered address, trading address (if different from registered business address), website, date your business started trading, number of employees.
- Company registration number OR Unique Tax Reference OR Other evidence for business registration.
- Relevant SIC Code for your business. What is a SIC code?
- Dedicated bank account for your business, and accompanying bank statement (March 2019).
- State aid information relating to your business in the last three years.
- Business turnover and profit for the last financial year and current financial year, including a Profit and Loss summary from April 2019 to March 2020 (or most recent data) and a Balance Sheet from April 2019 to March 2020 (or most recent data).
- 1 quotation for all work/purchases to be funded via the grant, if successful.
Answers to the following questions (it is important that you give enough detail to demonstrate the need for this grant):
- Brief overview of your business activity, products and services.
- Details of how your business has been affected by COVID-19, including details of the issues/challenges your business faces.
- Justification of how the grant funded support will help your business recover from the impact of COVID-19.
- Details of the selected support provider, rationale for choosing this supplier, and details of when you anticipate to make your first purchase.
Can I apply for both grants?
No, businesses are only able to apply to one of the grant schemes. One grant is aimed at those businesses within the Visitor Economy and the other is for businesses outside of that area and within the Wider Economy.
I am a new business that started trading after 1st March 2019. Do I qualify for a grant?
The grant scheme aims to help businesses recover from the impact of COVID-19. Eligible businesses must have been trading on or before 1st March 2019, and must still be trading. ‘Trading’ can be defined as engaging in business activity evidenced by demonstrable income/expenditure activity. . If you are a new business, and started trading after 1st March 2019, you will not be eligible for this grant.
Can more than one person within a business submit an application for the same grant?
No. Only one application can be made per business. Multiple application attempts by the same business will invalidate your application.
I own multiple businesses, can I apply for a grant for each?
In principle, yes, however the businesses would need to be separate legal entities, registered individually and be delivering different activities. We would need information to confirm this is the case.
Do I have to use local suppliers?
You can use any supplier you want to, so long as they are a business and the service or product is eligible for grant funding and is relevant to the recovery needs of your business.
However, you will need to confirm that the supplier is independent of you and your business and there is no conflict of interest. Applicants are, however, encouraged to use local, London-based suppliers, where possible.
How can I pay my suppliers?
Wherever possible, electronic payments should be made from your bank account to the suppliers. On occasions where this is not possible, payments by cheque or business debit cards are permitted. If cheque payments are made, please note you will be required to submit a photocopy of the cheque with supporting information.
In exceptional circumstances, where other payment options are not possible, the use of a business credit card may be approved. However, to claim this against the grant, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org before doing as you will need to show the balance having been paid in full and the payment to the card provider leaving your business bank account, or the payment having cleared from the credit card if credit card was used.
Payments through PayPal are accepted only if the payment is taken directly from the business bank account, i.e. you can evidence the individual invoice amount leaving the bank account. You are not able to pay an invoice using PayPal if you are using existing funds in a PayPal account, as each expenditure item must be evidenced back to the dedicated bank account Under no circumstances are payments by cash for invoices acceptable.
I have already started my project. Can I apply for the grant to cover these costs?
No, the grant cannot retrospectively fund activity that has already started. Your application must include a quote for the activity you wish the grant to fund but you cannot commission the work until your application has been confirmed as successful and you have received a grant offer letter.
How long does it take to approve my grant application?
We will endeavour to communicate a decision within 10 working days of application submission. Successful applications must be fully and correctly completed with the supporting evidence provided, including quotations for the funded activity, for a grant offer letter to be issued.
We expect high demand and grant processing may take longer depending on the number of applications received.
If my grant application is approved when will I receive the grant?
The grant will be paid in arrears. Businesses can apply for 100% of the costs, but please note that funding will be paid in arrears. Therefore, grant payment will be made after you have accepted the grant offer and have purchased and received the support or items that the grant has been approved for.
Successful applicants will have ONE calendar MONTH from the date of the grant offer letter to accept your grant offer (via electronic signature) and for all activity and claims to be completed and evidenced.
We need to see copies of supplier’s invoices and a copy of the statement from the dedicated bank account for the business, evidencing that payment has been made to the relevant suppliers.
Please note: part-payment of grant-funded services, support or equipment is not accepted. The service, support, or equipment must be paid IN FULL, within the one calendar month of receiving the grant offer letter, in order to claim the grant. Eligible applicants would not be able to part-fund the service, support or equipment, but then attempt to claim the full grant amount.
Once a complete claim has been submitted and approved, with all relevant evidence provided, payment will be made to the SME within 5 working days.
Do I have to pay the grant back?
No, but the grant is recoverable from the applicant if it is proved that their application and/or claim contained false or fraudulent information.
What happens to my application if I do not provide all the required information?
Your application will be rejected. You will be contacted by our assessment team to let you know that we are unable to process your application due to missing information.
If I am unsuccessful (or ineligible), what other support is available for my business?
If you are unsuccessful or ineligible for this grant, there may be other ways to access support. Please visit the London Business Hub website for more information on the support available to you.
How do I contact you if I need to speak to someone about my application or ask questions?
You can email email@example.com to ask questions regarding the scheme, however our advice would be to ensure you have read the FAQs fully (and watch the webinar which takes place on 15th October and a recording will also be available after this date) before doing so.
We cannot provide a status update on your submitted application and we cannot guarantee the timescale in which we will respond to queries due to the volume of contact we may receive.
COVID-19 Recovery Grants from the London Business Hub
Grants for SMEs to adapt and diversify during COVID-19.
Discretionary Local Business Grants
Support for London’s SMEs to find the local grants available to them during COVID-19.