In the previous issue I touched upon some of the financial support that Milton Keynes Council has made available for local businesses affected by COVID-19, as it is crucial that we help SMEs recover from the pandemic. Over the past two years, we have distributed vital grants totalling nearly £65m.
Therefore, I’m pleased to announce that in the past month, we have agreed on an additional business support package in response to the Omicron variant. This support package, worth £11m, is especially for businesses that have been negatively impacted by the latest wave of coronavirus.
Businesses in the hospitality, leisure and retail sectors will benefit from a £500,000 Additional Restrictions Grant fund aimed at those who don’t need to pay business rates and weren’t eligible for the previous government scheme. There will also be an £8.9m Discretionary Rate Relief for Non-Domestic Rates fund that will be shared across businesses affected by the pandemic, that have not previously qualified for business rates support.
For those in the charity and not-for-profit sector, we have launched a £600,000 support package that will be handed out over the next year. I hope that these additional pots of money will be of great benefit to our local businesses who have worked incredibly hard to stay afloat.
On another note, as this month we celebrate International Women’s Day, I am delighted that Milton Keynes Council has committed to investing an additional £55,000 to support female entrepreneurs – taking our total support for this particular project to £90,000. There is a real gender gap when looking at women in business, as just one in three UK entrepreneurs is female. We want to ensure Milton Keynes is a brilliant place for all entrepreneurs and that’s why we have strengthened our partnership with the Love Local Hub at the centre:mk, which provides mentoring, support and a start-up space for female business owners.
The Hubs Nesting Programme has been launched by the Love Local Hub, and over 50 businesses have benefited from their bootcamps so far. This extra funding will ensure that dozens more female entrepreneurs will be given the opportunity to showcase their work and take their careers to new heights by selling their products in one of the UK’s most popular shopping centres.
People who are interested in the Hubs Nesting Programme can register by emailing email@example.com
Full information on the support packages available, and details on how to apply, can be found here