A new business fund – created to support Cherwell District-based companies to move into an effective renewal phase following the COVID-19 pandemic – is set to be launched tomorrow (10 May) by the county’s Local Enterprise Partnership.
The Cherwell Business Adaptation Fund is the latest initiative to be led by OxLEP, recognising its commitment to supporting the Oxfordshire business community at a critical economic time.
It follows-on from previous grants and support programmes delivered by the Oxfordshire Growth Hub – a dedicated business support team.
The new scheme – which is being delivered and led by the OxLEP Business team on behalf of Cherwell District Council – will play a key role in ensuring that Cherwell-based businesses are able to run as efficiently as possible and remain productive, particularly in-light of the pandemic.
Through funding, eligible businesses will be expected to deliver outcomes that will accelerate investment across a number of key business areas.
This includes; strengthening overall business performance, providing supply chain resilience, supporting a transition to net-zero, driving technology and innovation adoption, as well as backing an increase in a business’ sales operation and market share.
The Cherwell Business Adaptation Fund aims to support eligible businesses through grants, ranging between £5,000 and £20,000 per business for capital and/or revenue-based projects.
To apply for a grant, all interested businesses must be based in the Cherwell district, attend a pre-application webinar – which will take place tomorrow (10 May) from 8.30am to 10am – or watch the webinar recording, and have also been in operation for at least one financial year. Further eligibility criteria will also apply.
The Cherwell Business Adaptation Fund will open for applications via the OxLEP Business website tomorrow. Applicants need to complete a pre-qualifying process, which will close on or before 27 May (subject to the level of interest), before applying.
The closing date for full applications is at 5pm on 7 June. All queries relating to the fund must be submitted to OxLEP Business by 30 May.
Nigel Tipple – Chief Executive of OxLEP – said: “The launch of the Cherwell Business Adaptation Fund is significant news for our business community in the north of the county and a welcome further line of support for eligible businesses at a critical time.
“Our impact, over the past two years in particular, has been positively received across the county. Between April 2020 and August last year, we engaged with 2,670 businesses across Oxfordshire – following the emergence of Coronavirus – and provided over 12,000 hours of support during the same period.
“Our experience in supporting businesses is second-to-none and we would therefore encourage Cherwell-based businesses to find out more about this new fund and discover if they are able to benefit from it.”
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, OxLEP Business has introduced a number of new and effective programmes and funds, created to provide much-needed support and financial backing to the Oxfordshire business community.
Last year, OxLEP Business committed over £2.24million-worth of funding to companies across multiple sectors in the county via its Business Investment Fund – a significant intervention for Oxfordshire businesses, secured by OxLEP via the Government’s Getting Building Fund.
This latest fund is expected to generate significant interest from Cherwell-based businesses and OxLEP Business are encouraging company leaders to complete their applications as soon as possible.
Businesses successful in securing a Cherwell Business Adaptation Fund grant will be required to have defrayed and claimed all grant-related project costs by 31 January next year.
In addition to this latest fund, businesses from right across the county are also being encouraged to complete OxLEP Business’ support tool which – since the COVID-19 outbreak – has created hundreds of bespoke business guidance plans for Oxfordshire-based organisations across many sectors, helping to future-proof their operations.