Richmondshire business grant schemes go digital

Beezak Group’s joiner apprentice, Lewis Bailey Hillier.

Two schemes set up to stimulate the growth of Richmondshire businesses are getting a digital makeover.

From May, all applications for the small business grant scheme and the apprentice wage subsidy schemes must be made online.

Officers feel this will create a more efficient and streamlined process to enable businesses to access the funding.

The schemes have already provided over £112, 000 to 71 businesses over the last two years.

The small business grant scheme encourages the formation of new enterprises and the growth of established small businesses, being targeted at those less than 36 months old and with no more than five employees.

It offers up to £1,000, or up to 75 per cent of the project cost to cover marketing costs, purchase of equipment and adaptation to premises.

In the last 16 months 40 businesses have been helped – with a total of £32,890 awarded.

That includes support for a new bed and breakfast establishment in Hawes which used the funding to create a new website.

Fiona and Tim Gardham, of the House at Hawes, said: “As a brand new business the additional boost to our budget this grant gave us has enabled us to get a professionally developed, fully functional and easy to navigate website, which really is our shop window to the outside world.

“The PR funding has also been invaluable and has already resulted in an uplift in visibility and forward bookings. We would certainly urge any eligible business to take advantage of the funding opportunity.”

The Apprenticeship Wage Subsidy Scheme enables businesses to employ apprentices of any age, who live in Richmondshire by providing them with a one-off grant of up to £3,000.

The Bezaak Group Ltd was one of the businesses that benefited; the funding enabled them to employ a bench joiner and carpentry apprentice in September 2020,

“As our business prides itself on quality workmanship and products, we feel it’s so important to train our employees from scratch so they develop the skills we need,” said Andy Whiteside, owner of Bezaak Group Ltd.

“We are pleased that we can give young people a chance and provide a very supportive environment for them to grow in confidence.

“All of our apprentices are still employed within the industry and we currently have a vacancy for a level 3 bench joiner/carpenter.

“Our current apprentice, Lewis, has nearly completed his level 2 in bench joinery/carpentry and we have offered him a further opportunity to train to level 3.”

They are one of 31 businesses that has been awarded part of £80,000 to pay for 39 new apprentices over the last two years.

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