Funding scheme launched to help new small Horsham businesses affected by the pandemic

New and start-up businesses in the Horsham area are being invited to apply to Horsham District Council for grants.

Tuesday, 19th January 2021, 12:09 pm

The council has reopened access for applications for its Local Enterprise and Apprenticeship Programme - LEAP - and aims to help small companies who have missed out on Government Covid-19 support.

This, the second tranche of the current LEAP funding pot, is open until the end of February and follows a first round of funding awards which saw 18 local businesses being awarded individual grants of up to £2,000.

More than 100 small and micro businesses have successfully secured grants throughout the four previous years of the programme.

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The current LEAP scheme has around £58,000 remaining to be distributed to small businesses across the district between now and the end of May.

A council spokesman said: “If you are a new business of less than 12 months, have less than 20 employees, and can submit a three-year business plan, you can now apply for a share of these grant funds to support your business needs.

“You can apply for up to £2,000, which you will need to match with additional funds (30 per cent of the total project cost). You must be able to demonstrate how the project will develop or establish your business and what difference it will make.”

Council cabinet member for local economy Paul Clarke said: “Our focus for this second tranche of LEAP funding is to support people into self-employment in light of the rising levels of unemployment and redundancies as a result of Covid.

“LEAP funding is a great opportunity for businesses who are starting up or have recently set up a new business and have been adversely affected by the pandemic.

“We are hoping as many of the district’s entrepreneurs or businesses as possible will take advantage of this grant scheme, in order to make that important small investment to help them either launch their own business or build the resilience of their existing enterprises which will be so crucial for our local economy going forward.”

Commenting on the benefits of a 2020 LEAP funding award, Ian Newbold, director of Henfield based Newboldology said: “Receiving the LEAP funding grant was essential for our business in 2020. The funding helped us increase our marketing presence in local community publications and enabled us to rebuild our website.

“As local small businesses emerged from the impact of lockdown through the summer of 2020 and started to focus on growth plans our continued marketing presence had a positive impact on our business and supported vital growth for our second year of trading.

“Applying was very straightforward and the team at Horsham District Council were great is guiding us through every step of the process.’

Nikki Osborne, owner of Horsham based Responsible Research in Practice added: “At the beginning of the pandemic I was lucky enough to receive a LEAP funding grant to help me buy a licence for online webinar software.

“My business specialises in the delivery of professional in-house education and training. Before the pandemic our bespoke in-house training sessions were delivered face to face which meant that when the pandemic hit, the business faced an uncertain future.

“Now, thanks to the LEAP funding all our training sessions are being delivered as live interactive webinar sessions online and our reputation and audiences around the world are growing.”