City Corporation to launch new Covid Business Recovery Fund for Square Mile SMEs

A new Covid Business Recovery Fund of up to £50 million will launch next Monday (12 April) after it was agreed by the City of London Corporation.

The design of the fund – which was agreed by the Policy and Resources Committee today following an earlier decision by the Court of Common Council to establish it on 4 March – will support SME businesses which contribute to the Square Mile’s vibrancy at street level and directly provide services to returning City workers, visitors and residents. It aims to support those businesses that can evidence, through the grant application process, a likelihood that with support they have a reasonable chance to survive beyond the short-term.

Applicants will need to demonstrate that they provide an in-person service to the general public in either the retail, hospitality, medical or leisure sectors. Other requirements will include that the business: has had its trading premises in the City of London since at least 20 March 2020 with businesses that have signed leases prior to this date being eligible; has taken steps to reduce its costs as far as practical and has taken up all available grants/loans; has actively engaged with its landlord and agreed a rent-free period or a reduction in rent; and pays the Living Wage.

Grants will be based on individual requirements after a financial evaluation but will not exceed £100,000 per business. Applications will be accepted between 12 April and 11 June 2021. Funds will be awarded on a first come, first served basis. If the level of grants awarded exceeds the allocated funding, then the scheme will be closed with immediate effect.

An online portal has been set up to take applications and will go live from 12 April. Businesses can find further information on the fund and apply from Monday here. The City Business Library will provide support to any applicants unsure how to use the portal.

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