Dodds announces £40 million secured for microbusiness Hardship Fund.
Economy Minister Diane Dodds has announced that £40 million is to be made available for a new Hardship Fund aimed at microbusinesses. These small businesses have not been able to avail of existing support schemes and may require financial support due to the impact of COVID-19.
It is estimated around 8,000 businesses across Northern Ireland will be eligible for this scheme.
Minister Dodds said: “I am pleased to announce that the Executive has approved funding of £40 million for this Hardship Fund which will provide much-needed support to thousands of businesses suffering financial difficulties as a result of COVID-19. Social enterprises and charities will be able to access the fund if they meet the eligibility criteria.
“Details on the scheme including eligibility criteria and arrangements for applying will be released next week.
“This fund should mean that around a third of all businesses in Northern Ireland will now be able to access support under the Northern Ireland COVID-19 grant schemes.”
The funding will be available to businesses unable to access the £10,000 and £25,000 grant schemes.
FSB NI Welcome Funding Release.
FSB NI Head of External Affairs, Roger Pollen has welcomed the announcement that the NI Executive has approved a £40 million ‘Hardship Fund’ for micro-businesses who are yet to receive support grants.
Commenting, Roger Pollen said: “We have welcomed the significant support which government has brought forward at Stormont and Westminster so far, however many small businesses have appeared to fall through the gaps.
“While we await further detail around criteria and eligibility, we are encouraged that the Executive has recognised the need for micro-businesses to be supported.
“It is crucial that this fund is targeted on those most in need and that it is expedited as quickly as possible.
“It is also vital that the existing £10,000 and £25,000 grants are processed smoothly, so businesses can be provided with much needed cash flow.”