New funding released for coworking and small businesses

New funding of £617m is being made available to co-working space tenants and other businesses in England who aren’t being given funding through the coronavirus business rates grant scheme. 

The grants are in addition to the £12.33bn provided to English councils to deliver £10,000 and £25,000 grants to companies covered by business rates.

Over the last two weeks Engine Shed has been working with Business West and TechSPARK to call on the government to extend the grants scheme to cover companies using shared workspaces.

The lobby has resulted in over 400 local businesses signing a petition to ask the government for help. We’ve also been working closely with the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), including speaking directly to the Small Business Minister, Paul Scully MP and his advisors, to show why this funding is needed.

Marty Reid, Head of Engine Shed, said: “We are delighted that the government is acting to close some of the gaps in support that our small business community had fallen through. Founders of high potential technology companies and small independent creatives alike rely on shared workspaces while contributing so much to the regional economy. We know first-hand that there are still really tough times ahead for small business owners and their teams, but I’ve been encouraged by the open and collaborative approach from our colleagues and partners in the city from a whole range of sectors.”

The government has said this fund is aimed at small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs, and local authorities have been asked to prioritise businesses in shared spaces, regular market traders and small charity properties that would meet the criteria for Small Business Rates Relief.

But local authorities may choose to make payments to other businesses “based on local economic need”.

To qualify, businesses must have under 50 employees and be able to demonstrate that they have seen a significant drop of income due to coronavirus restriction measures. Grants of £10,000 and £25,000 will be available and local authorities can choose to make payments of any other amount under £10,000.

Over the next few days, we’ll continue to work closely with our local authorities and city partners in the West of England about the details of the scheme and how to apply to make sure it reaches the business communities that need it.