Applications open for Coronavirus Business Support Fund

Businesses in Fife can now apply for grant support to help them deal with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

 

Two types of one-off grants are available to businesses paying rates:

 

  •  A £10,000 grant is available to businesses with properties with a rateable value of up to £18,000 which are in receipt of the Small Business Bonus Scheme or Rural Relief.  Business who applied for Nursery Relief or Disabled Relief but are eligible for the Small Business Bonus Scheme can also apply.

 

  • A £25,000 grant is available for businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors who have properties with a rateable value of between £18,001 and £50,999.

 

The grants are being administered for Fife by Fife Council on behalf of the Scottish Government.

 

For more information and to apply for a grant visit www.fife.gov.uk/coronavirus-business and click on the Scottish Government Coronavirus Business Support dropdown.

 

More information on the support available for owners of non-domestic properties can be found here.

 

Click for more information on the support available to help your business during the pandemic or call the national business support helpline from Monday-Friday on 0300 303 0660.

 

 

Coronavirus support for businesses in Fife

Business Gateway Fife is ready to help Fife businesses during the coronavirus crisis.  It can provide advice and access to immediate support to enable you to continue to trade during this extremely challenging period.

 

Contact Business Gateway Fife at www.businessgatewayfife.com or arrange to speak to an adviser on 01592 858333.

 

There is also a national business support helpline run by Scottish Enterprise on 0300 303 0660.

 

The Scottish Government has also pulled together advice for businesses in Scotland.

 

You can also check what support is available and how it will be delivered on the links listed below.  These might not be comprehensive and but will be updated on a regular basis.

 

UK Government

The announcement on the Gov.uk website lists the various measures available and who is administering them UK Government – guidance to employers and businesses about Covid-19 support – it is comprehensive & updated as they add additional measures.

 

Relevant to all businesses

Banks and Building Societies can participate in the Bank of England’s Term Funding Scheme announced on 11 March with additional incentives for SMEs TFSME. Companies can ask their funders about the implications for business lending.

 

If you are concerned about being able to pay your tax due to COVID-19, call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 015 9559. Lines are open from Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm and on Saturday 8am to 4pm.

 

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – HMRC will reimburse 80% of the wage costs of ‘furloughed’ workers (ie workers who have been asked to stop working but have not been made redundant), up to £2,500 per month.

 

If you are either a small or medium sized business, you can access:

FInance from the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme is now available through the British Business Bank.  If you are UK based and have a turnover of no more than £45m per year, you can apply for up to £5m of funding.

 

If you are a large business, you may be able access:

The Covid -19 Corporate Financing Facility CCFF is a scheme for larger firms via the Bank of England.  A Market Notice explains some of the detail of how the facility will work CCFF Market Notice. Application forms and pricing will be added to the Bank of England’s website on Monday 23rd.

The Bank will publish a dedicated webpage for corporates seeking to use the CCFF as soon as possible.

 

If you are a small business based in Scotland:

You can access grants and business rate relief.

 

  1. Small Business Bonus and Rural Relief Schemes – additional grant funding
  • If you are based in Scotland and have a total rateable value (the value used to assess the amount of business rates the property owner or leaseholder must pay) up to £35,000, you may be able to access rates relief via the Small Business Bonus Scheme which includes a link to Local Authority websites.
  • If your property is in a designated rural area, with a population below 3,000, you may be eligible for 100% relief from your business rates via Rural Relief
  • If you are eligible for either scheme and your property has a rateable value of up to £18,000, you can apply for an additional £10,000 grant .
  1. Grant funding for hospitality, tourism and retail sector
  • If your property has a rateable value between £18,000 and £51,000 you can apply for a £25,000 hospitality, leisure and retail property grant.
  • You may also be eligible for one year’s 100% non-domestic rates relief for retail, hospitality and tourism.

To apply for relief and/or a grant you should complete an application form which can be found at www.fife.gov.uk/corovirus-business – Scottish Government Coronavirus business support fund.

 

Other information

The Association of British Insurers have issued a statement on business insurance cover here and have a COVID-19 Q&A here which includes business insurance, trade credit, income protection and pensions and investments.

 

Pict Offshore plans expansion with Scottish Enterprise support

Fife hoist manufacturer, Pict Offshore, has received a £250k Regional Selective Assistance (RSA) grant from Scottish Enterprise to expand production at its site in Inverkeithing.

 

The funding is part of a multi-million pound investment by the company to accelerate its R&D development and assembly capabilities to increase production for the offshore wind market.

 

Pict Offshore was formed in May 2019 and is a joint venture between Orsted and Limpet Technology, which had previously been supported by Scottish Enterprise and Strathclyde University to develop the new hoist technology

 

Working with Orsted, the world’s largest developer of offshore wind farms, Pict Offshore commercialised the ‘Get Up Safe’ (GUS) system – a motion compensated personnel hoist.

 

The hoist, which won an innovation award at the Scottish Green Awards in December 2019, allows technicians  to transfer on and off turbines more safely, thus increasing the competitiveness of offshore wind energy.

 

Assembly of the hoists will take place in Inverkeithing and Pict Offshore aims to create 13 new highly-skilled jobs during 2020 and to start placing orders with the local supply chair.

 

Announcing the RSA award, Scotland’s Energy Minister, Paul Wheelhouse, said: “I am pleased to see this RSA award.  Indeed we want to encourage and enable other offshore wind developers and Scottish supply chain companies to adopt a similar partnership to Orsted and Pict Offshore.

 

“If this collaborative approach was more widely adopted in the sector, it would be a very positive step towards increasing the level of local content in projects for Scotland and further afield.”

 

Click for more information about RSA grants and to find out if you’re eligible for support.

Scottish Government announces £320m support package for businesses during coronavirus outbreak

New measures to limit the impact of COVID-19 on the business community in Scotland were announced by Finance Secretary, Kate Forbes, on Saturday (14 March).

 

The following steps will be put in place to support businesses during the 2020-21 financial year:

 

  • A 75% rates relief for businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a rateable value of less than £69,000 from 1 April 2020.
  • An £80 million fund to provide grants of at least £3,000 to small businesses in sectors facing the worst economic impact of COVID-19 .
  • A 1.6% rates relief for all properties across Scotland, effectively reversing the planned below inflation uplift in the poundage from 1 April 2020.
  • A fixed rates relief of up to £5,000 for all pubs with a rateable value of less than £100,000 from 1 April 2020.

 

A helpline providing businesses across Scotland with advice and guidance on COVID-19 has also been announced by Economy Secretary, Fiona Hyslop.

 

The helpline number, which is now live, is 0300 303 0660 and will be open Monday to Friday between 8.30am and 5.30pm.

 

Based at Scottish Enterprise’s existing call centre in Clydebank, advisers across Scotland will answer questions from businesses related to COVID-19.

 

The helpline will also help the Scottish Government identify the current challenges facing businesses.

 

Click for more information on the government’s package of support

 

Business Gateway has launched a dedicated page with the latest information and advice for business owners on Coronavirus.

 

Alternatively arrange to speak to an adviser at Business Gateway Fife on 01502 858333.

Fife Business Leaders Meet Scottish Minister

JAMIE HEPBURN MSP, Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills, recently enjoyed a breakfast meeting with members of the Fife Economy Partnership.

 

(L to R) Michael Longstaffe (FEP Chair), Jamie Hepburn MSP, Cllrs David Ross, Cllr David Alexander and Gordon Mole (Fife Council)

Mr Hepburn met with members of the partnership and representatives from the Fife Chamber of Commerce to discuss some of the challenges and opportunities facing businesses in Fife after Brexit.

 

Topics discussed included the future of Fife’s Developing the Young Workforce programme, working to better preparing children and young people for the world of work.

 

The support available to businesses to continue to trade and access new markets and appropriately skilled labour whilst the UK leaves the EU were also discussed, along with how companies can be helped to respond to the climate change emergency.

 

Chair of the Fife Economy Partnership, Michael Longstaffe, said: “We enjoyed a positive discussion with Mr Hepburn, during which we discussed how the Scottish Government can help business in Fife post-Brexit.”

 

Mr Longstaffe continued: “The Partnership was delighted that Mr Hepburn took the time to meet with so many from the business community in Fife.  We should all value the meetings we have with senior Government Ministers and the dialogue these sessions give us with the Scottish Government.

 

“The meeting gave us a clear opportunity to update the Minister on current challenges facing businesses in Fife and we appreciated that.”

New dates announced for Women’s Leadership Development Programme

Women’s Enterprise Scotland is to deliver a repeat of their highly-successful Women’s Leadership Development Programme in Fife later this year.

 

The ‘Lead With WES’ Programme – delivered in partnership with Fife Council Economic Development – is designed for women business owners wishing to lead their business through growth to become a sustainable, high performing organisation.

 

The 12-month programme, which starts in June, aims to help businesswomen increase their confidence in leadership by enabling them to develop, implement and evaluate strategies to grow their business using models and tools.

 

The course will also help attendees identify their own leadership style and develop their leadership and management skills to fully embed their learning in their business.

 

The programme comprises four one-day workshops at the the Enterprise Hub Fife in Glenrothes along with online exercises.

 

Click for more information or call Business Gateway Fife on 01592 858333

Fife businesses set to benefit from pioneering Data-Driven Innovation programme

Fife businesses have started on a journey that will enable them to reap the vast benefits of the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal Data-Driven Innovation (DDI) programme that is set to boost economic growth. Business leaders and managers from across Fife recently attended an industry event on how best to drive improvement through data on 26 February, at the Double Tree by Hilton Hotel, Inverkeithing.

 

Jarmo Eskelinen, Director of the Data-Driven Innovation (DDI) initiative and Gordon Mole, Head of Service – Business & Employability, Fife Council

Delegates were given new insights into how data can expand the contribution of research to the region’s economy, and increase entrepreneurial activity. Fife businesses were also shown how companies are already using data technologies to enhance commercial performance and the profound impact  data innovation is making across diverse sectors.

 

Jarmo Eskelinen, Director of the Data-Driven Innovation (DDI) initiative, shared his experience of working with businesses, universities and city leaders in the UK and Finland to drive improvement and tackle their growth challenges with data.

 

The 15- year £661m Data-Driven Innovation programme is a key part of the City Region Deal, and is designed to reach out to the whole City Region, so that businesses, public sector bodies and other organisations can use data to improve productivity and develop new products and services.

 

The University of Edinburgh is collaborating with Heriot-Watt University to create five DDI ‘hubs’ targeting 10 industry sectors across the public, private and third sectors – from creative industries and healthcare to fintech and robotics. The ambitious programme is designed transform the city region into the Data Capital of Europe through better data skills. It aims to train 100,000 people in data skills over the next decade, from computer science specialists to traditional jobs that will increasingly use data.

 

Gordon Mole, Head of Service- Business and Employability, Fife Council, said: “We are starting to explore the potential for Data Driven Innovation to improve our region’s economy by creating more and better jobs, improving services, while helping some companies to start-up and others to grow.

 

“This ground-breaking City Region Deal Data-Driven Innovation initiative is enabling a diverse range of organisations to develop and test new services to meet the needs of our communities.

 

“A number of businesses looked into how  data can ensure continuous improvement in your business, and drive economic growth, social change and public services.”

 

Jarmo Eskelinen, Director of the Data-Driven Innovation (DDI) initiative, said: “The DDI Programme is committed to supporting local businesses as they experiment and embed data driven innovation into their business processes. This pilot project will allow Fife Council and the University of Edinburgh to support the input of cutting-edge research and expertise into Fife-based businesses, through a new integrated approach to innovation funding support. There is already interest from other City Region local authority partners to trial the approach if this pilot is successful.”

 

Through this, and other events, the City Region Deal will ensure that organisations from across the region fully benefit from the fast-developing field of Data-Driven Innovation and drive innovation through big data and artificial intelligence.

 

It is estimated that Scotland needs around 13,000 extra workers each year with data skills as the workplace transforms. Together, the two universities will increase the provision of data science teaching for their students, and support schools and colleges across the region to provide digital skills teaching and training. The region’s supercomputing capabilities will also be strengthened with investment in a data analysis facility, which will help 1,000 organisations use data to innovate.

 

Companies attending the event included CoorsTek Ltd, Diageo, FLEXcon, Subsea International Ltd, Scott Group, Interface and the Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service (SMAS).

 

For more information about the programme and how you could get involved, email Morag Millar, Fife Council’s Strategic Growth & City Deal Programme Manager – morag.millar@fife.gov.uk