What’s New For Small Businesses This Week? – 30/10/2020

What’s New For Small Businesses This Week? – 30/10/2020

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 and West Yorkshire put into Tier 3 restrictions
  • BT launches start-up connectivity support scheme
  • Almost 85k more businesses formed in 2020
  • Barclays sets up accelerator programme for black entrepreneurs
  • Birmingham grant scheme helps created 150 jobs

Nottinghamshire and West Yorkshire put into Tier 3 restrictions

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:

  • All pubs and bars must close, unless they are serving substantial meals;
  • People should try to avoid travelling outside the very high alert level or entering a very high alert level area, other than for work, education or for caring responsibilities or to travel through as part of a longer journey

In addition, it has been agreed that:

  • All hospitality venues (cafes, restaurants, pubs, bars and social clubs) can remain open to offer substantial meals, or must move to operate a delivery and takeaway service only. Alcohol can only be served with a substantial meal;
  • The use of shared smoking equipment (such as but not limited to shisha) in hospitality venues will be prohibited;
  • Betting shops, car boot sales and auction houses (with the exception of livestock and agricultural equipment sales) must close;
  • Alcohol sales must be prohibited after 9pm where alcohol is purchased to consume off premises, for example shops. Alcohol can continue to be purchased in hospitality venues where accompanying a substantial meal, up until 10pm;
  • Indoor entertainment and tourism venues must close, except for ice skating rinks, cinemas, concert halls, and theatres. Hotels and other accommodation can stay open;
  • Outdoor entertainment and tourism venues can remain open, with the exception of their indoor attractions (such as at animal attractions or landmarks);
  • Saunas and steam rooms must close;
  • Leisure and sporting facilities (such as leisure centres, gyms, fitness and dance studios, swimming pools and sports courts) can remain open. It is strongly advised that indoor group exercise classes (including dance and fitness classes) should not take place;
  • Personal care settings such as tattoo parlours, tanning and nail salons, and piercing services must close. Hairdressers and barber salons can remain open but cannot perform services that are otherwise closed. It is advised that personal care services do not take place in private homes

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:

  • Yorkshire and the Humber:

East Riding of Yorkshire;

Kingston-Upon-Hull;

North East Lincolnshire;

North Lincolnshire

  • West Midlands:

Dudley;

Staffordshire;

Telford and Wrekin

  • East Midlands:

Amber Valley;

Bolsover;

Derbyshire Dales;

Derby City;

South Derbyshire;

High Peak (whole of);

Charnwood

  • East of England:

Luton

  • South East:

Oxford City

BT launches start-up connectivity support scheme

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 85k more businesses formed in 2020

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 sets up accelerator programme for black entrepreneurs

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

Birmingham grant scheme helps create 150 jobs

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.

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