The Department for Enterprise is extending the support available under the Business Improvement Scheme and the Accessibility Grant.
The additional support has been made available through the Economic Recovery Group, which is co-chaired by Treasury Minister Alfr Cannan and Enterprise Minister Laurence Skelly, it aims to protect people and jobs, secure investment and encourage growth as part of the island’s financial fightback from Coronavirus.
Business Improvement Scheme
This provides funding for organisations who would like to undertake a business improvement project using external consultants. The scheme normally provides funding of 50% up to a maximum of £5,000, but the enhanced scheme now provides additional support, of 50% up to a higher maximum of £10,000 for projects within the disciplines of: digital marketing consultancy, social media consultancy, website creation and website development. The enhanced support will be available until the 31st October 2021. More information on the Business Improvement Scheme can be found at: www.dfe.im/bis
To be eligible, a business must be registered or incorporated on the island, employ workers (other than the owners unless a start-up business in the first 18 months) resident on the island for Income Tax purposes and have no government debts such as NI, VAT etc.
This was announced as an addition to the Financial Assistance Scheme in October 2020 and provides grant funding up to £7,500 to support businesses wishing to make adjustments in line with the Equality Act 2017. Existing businesses can receive support of up to 50% towards modifications to premises, plant and machinery costs, website modifications for accessibility purposes and other reasonable adjustments. More information on the Accessibility Grant can be found at: www.dfe.im/fas
The support, open to all businesses, includes:
Up to 50% towards permanent modifications required to premises, which may include signage, handrails, step edges, door handles, automatic doors, ramps, lifts, lighting, contrasting floor coverings, low counters, stair lifts, accessible facilities (i.e. toilets/washrooms/quiet spaces) etc.
Up to 50% of plant and machinery costs which may include specialist furniture, counter or room induction loops with testing devices, portable payment terminals etc.
Up to 50% towards website modifications for accessibility purposes
Up to 50% of other reasonable adjustments at the Department’s discretion
The total grant available is capped at a maximum of £7,500 per business.
Laurence Skelly said: ‘The Economic Recovery Group is leading a coordinated response to the Coronavirus pandemic and this extended support demonstrates further investment in stimulus measures to ensure the island’s businesses have opportunities in the economic recovery. Supporting businesses who wish to undertake digital improvement projects, and those who need to make their premises more accessible for their customers and employees is an integral part in ensuring we meet the needs of our community and ensure inclusivity within our island.’
The announcement of these scheme extensions sits alongside emergency support for businesses, individuals and the self-employed, which include the Coronavirus Business Support Scheme, the MERA and the Salary Support Scheme, all of which have recently been extended for the duration of the current circuit break lockdown. Two new payments have also been announced, the Domestic Business Payment, and the Hospitality Grant of £250, more info on these is due shortly.