The impact of COVID-19 on micro and small businesses continues to be felt during the second lockdown in November 2020. To ensure these businesses can access essential cash flow now, the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has redirected funding from its local growth small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) fund to micro and small businesses through the Crowdfunder Solent scheme.
The Solent Crowdfunder scheme proved highly popular during the spring and summer before lockdown restrictions were lifted. Innovative solutions were found by a wide range of businesses to ensure they were able to trade online and increase cash flow with commitments of goods and services to customers at a later date.
The funds have been reviewed and opened up to ensure businesses can apply for money to help them trade throughout lockdown. This might be for an e-commerce enabled website or other costs to help businesses continue to operate.
The Solent area – which includes the Isle of Wight, the 2 cities of Portsmouth and Southampton, the M27 corridor, and the Solent waterway – is home to over 41,000 businesses, 89% of which are micro (1-9 people), and 9.3% are small (10-49 people).
SJ Hunt, Chair of the Solent LEP Business Support Taskforce, said:
“A rapid response in these continuing challenging times will make the difference between regional businesses staying afloat or going under. Under the first phase of our Crowdfunder project launched during the first nation-wide project, we were able to provide £186k to 84 businesses from as far and wide as the Isle of Wight, the New Forest and Eastleigh. All of these businesses are vital to our local economy and to the community.
“We’re delighted that we are in a position where we can relaunch the Crowdfunder Solent scheme to support even more businesses in these unprecedented and highly challenging times.”
How does Crowdfund Solent work?
- Someone who is self-employed, a micro or small businesses can set-up a Crowdfunder campaign by visiting www.Crowdfunder.co.uk/funds/crowdfund-solent
- Once set-up the person or business can sell their goods or services, request donations, and diversify their offer to engage existing customers and potentially reach new customers as well.
- The business sets a financial target to meet. Throughout the process, coaching is offered by Crowdfunder to support the person/small business to meet their target.
- If an application is approved, once the financial target is met match funding is released from the LEP.
- The total sum of the money is then released to the person/small business