This week the government has announced Nottinghamshire and West Yorkshire will be placed into Tier 3 restrictions to stem the rising tide of Covid-19. Also, BT has launched a new connectivity support scheme to help small businesses and Barclays has set up an accelerator programme for black entrepreneurs. Here is an at a glance look at the news you need to know:
Nottinghamshire has been placed into Tier 3 restrictions today (Friday) to try and stop rising Covid-19 cases. After discussions between the government and local leaders, the 8 districts of Ashfield, Bassetlaw, Broxtowe, Gedling, Mansfield, Newark and Sherwood, Nottingham and Rushcliffe, have been moved from local Covid-19 alert level high to very high.
West Yorkshire, including the council areas of Calderdale, Bradford, Kirklees, Leeds and Wakefield, will also be placed into Tier 3 restrictions from Monday. It joins the neighbouring areas of South Yorkshire, Greater Manchester and Lancashire, as well as the Liverpool City region and Warrington.
For small businesses in these areas, this means that:
In addition, it has been agreed that:
Infection rates in Nottinghamshire are among the highest in the country and are continuing to climb rapidly. The weekly case rate stands at 364 people per 100,000 in Nottinghamshire County.
In Nottingham City, the weekly case rate per 100,000 increases to 493 per 100,000. As of Tuesday October 20, there were 194 confirmed cases at Nottingham University Hospitals Trust.
The county will receive financial support from the government including additional funding from the Contain Outbreak Management Fund to support proactive containment and intervention measures, as well as business support funding.
The following areas will also move to Tier 2 restrictions on Saturday:
East Riding of Yorkshire;
North East Lincolnshire;
Telford and Wrekin
High Peak (whole of);
Start-ups can benefit from six months’ free fibre broadband, digital phone line and mobile bundles thanks to a new scheme launched by BT. The tech bursaries programme will help 1,000 businesses.
The scheme, which was launched as part of BT’s pledge to support start-ups by giving them a financial head start, includes Halo for business – a converged connectivity plan which provides micro-businesses with three connections in one. The bundles will be provided free of charge for the first six months on a 24-month contract.
The new support package – praised by business groups and senior politicians around the country – consists of 10 initiatives focused on enhancing connectivity, cash flow and confidence of small businesses. This includes improving access to high-speed connections.
Start-ups can choose from a range of bundles under the bursary scheme, starting from £34.95 (excluding VAT) per month after the first six months.
To qualify for the new bursary scheme, businesses need to have set up their company after October 1, 2019 and this must be their first BT business broadband service subscription. BT’s customer service team will contact applicants the next working day to talk them through the best bundled broadband, digital phone line and mobile option to suit their needs.
BT will be closely monitoring interest in the scheme and will consider extending it to more UK start-up companies, subject to future demand.
To apply, visit www.bt.com/tech-bursary
Almost 85,000 more businesses were formed in the UK in 2020 than the previous year, according to Companies House figures. The number of companies set up climbed 12.3% or 84,758 this year from 2019.
This is the highest percentage growth on record. The biggest growth was between June and August, with an additional 59,358 new companies created.
By sector, the largest growth was in e-commerce (up 88 per cent with 12,490 new businesses registered), clothing (up 55%) and retailers of medical goods (up 176%). The biggest drop-off was in vets (down 48% year-on-year), IT consultancy (down 25%), opticians (down 33%) and aircraft repair/maintenance (down 44%).
Barclays has launched a 12-week virtual accelerator programme to help start-ups founded by black entrepreneurs. The bank and social enterprise Foundervine have partnered to offer the Black Founder Accelerator, working with 25 black-founder-led technology firms from November 12.
The programme will include a series of masterclasses focused on a number of core business skills, including product development, sales strategy, operations and leadership. The founders will be mentored by and receive professional coaching from scale-up experts.
Participants will also be given access to Barclays’ UK-wide Eagle Labs network and exclusive access to community events through the labs. After 12 weeks, founders will present their business to potential clients and investors on a demo day.
For more information about the Black Founder Accelerator or Eagle Labs visit labs.uk.barclays/barclays-black-founder-accelerator
Almost 150 jobs have been created thanks to the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership’s Pivot and Prosper Grant Scheme. The £1.9 million initiative has funded the establishment of 149 jobs and a further 499 jobs have been safeguarded across the region.
The Pivot and Prosper Grant Fund, awarded to 52 companies in the area, was launched as part of the first phase of the Step Forward campaign – a series of schemes set up to help support businesses in key strategic sectors; advanced manufacturing and engineering, business professional and financial services, creative industries, energy and low carbon, life sciences and food and drink. The scheme enabled businesses to access up to £40,000 match funding each.