Non-financial support for businesses
This information was last checked on 22 May 2020.
To keep up-to-date on the guidance and support available to local businesses sign up to our business newsletter
- Advice and support from the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority
- Avoiding Scams
- Continuing apprenticeships
- Cyber security including video conferencing
- Doing business with the Council
- Environmental Health and Licensing
- Sector support
- Sources of information and support for businesses
- Support for SMEs to rapidly innovate to adapt
- Support from Companies House
- Support with trading internationally
The new Government Business Support Hub brings together all of the up-to-date information, advice and guidance published by Government. It contains information for sole traders and the self-employed as well as businesses in general.
If you can’t find the information that you need on the Hub you can speak directly to an adviser on the Government's Business Support Helpline on FREEPHONE 0800 998 1098.
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), the Cambridgeshire Chambers of Commerce and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) all have useful information and advice for businesses on their websites.
The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority (CPCA) has launched a new suite of support for businesses in the local area that have been affected by the Coronavirus crisis:
- The Covid-19 Business 1-2-1 Support Service: a free 1-hour consultation, on the phone or via video link, from an experienced business adviser to discuss your business needs and provide guidance on how to access support.
- Free access to a range of webinars that are designed to support your business through the impact of Covid-19.
- A new Talent Portal For employers to find staff with the necessary skills to enable your business to operate during this difficult time.
- The Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Retraining Scheme is a new pilot programme to prepare adults for changes to the economy.
The CPCA’s Covid-19 Micro Capital Grant Scheme also forms part of the suite of support. Eligible applicants are sole traders, partnerships and employers employing no more than 5 FTE employees in the Cambridge and Peterborough Combined Authority area. The maximum grant request is £5,000.
The Grant can only be applied to the outright purchase of capital equipment, this can be equipment you have already purchased between January 2020 and April 2020. They cannot accept applications for equipment that will be purchased using Hire Purchase, Lease Purchase or any type of Credit Sale.
Free online learning platform to boost workplace skills
‘The Skills Toolkit’ offers an opportunity to learn new skills to help to get ahead online and gain the knowledge we’ll all need for the future. The platform also offers employees who have been furloughed an opportunity to keep up their skills development while they are at home.
The free courses on offer cover a range of levels, from everyday maths and tools for using email and social media more effectively at work to more advanced training.
For example, individuals will be able to access courses helping them to create great online content developed by the University of Leeds and the Institute of Coding, to understand the Fundamentals of Digital Marketing from Google Digital Garage and to learn how to code for data analysis from the Open University.
All courses are online and flexible, so people can work through them at their own pace.
Fully funded bespoke online training for you and your employees
Fully funded bespoke training for employers and their employees is available through online and distance learning to Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) across Greater Cambridge and Greater Peterborough.
Skill’s Support for the Workforce’s (SSW) network of expert delivery partners are now able to offer a wide range of funded training courses. Making use of technologies such as; Skype, Zoom, webinars, online distance learning platforms and training portals, means that both new and existing learners can access training at a time and location that best suits the learner and the needs of the employer. Distance and online learning now available in the following areas:
- Digital Marketing and IT
- Health and Social Care
- Leadership and Management
- Information, advice and guidance
- Customer service
This is subject to availability.
With the spread of the coronavirus, having the right digital skills to do business online is more important than ever. BT is working with a range of partners, such as Google Digital Garage and Small Business Britain, to run a host of free webinars and courses with experts to help SMEs cope.
These online courses will help SME owners and their employees improve their digital skills through new online tools, social media advice and new digital tips and tricks, empowering them with the skills they need today during these challenging times.
Other learning opportunities
The Open University is offering free courses via its OpenLearn website including a wide range of business courses.
FutureLearn offers business courses from universities all over the world, including the Open University. Many of them are free.
Be the Business are offering two mentoring support schemes.
Be the Business Rapid Response Programme
Be the Business Rapid Response Programme is a 12-week programme, created specifically to help SMEs through this difficult period of uncertainty and change.
The focus of the support is intended to be around business continuity, pivoting of the business plan, advice on next steps and how to rebuild. The mentors are leaders from top firms such as BAE Systems, Amazon and Accenture
Mentoring will take place via video conferencing and phone calls only, and the structure encourages frequent, short conversations across three months with the allocated mentor.
The eligibility criteria for the programme are as follows:
- Minimum of £1 million turnover and 6 FTE staff
- Key decision maker in business
- Any sector
Please be aware that the mentor is not responsible for providing legal or financial advice in a professional advisory capacity.
Be the Business Mentoring for Growth
Be the Business Mentoring for Growth supports SME businesses with over 10 full-time employees and an annual turnover of at least £2m and is open to all business sectors. It has been designed for business leaders and senior management who are looking to take their business to the next level and feel that they would benefit from accessing the experience and knowledge of a mentor from a larger multinational business, such as Siemens, GSK, Accenture, Amazon and the John Lewis Partnership.
The organisers of Mentoring for Growth scheme recognise the difficulties caused by current economic environment. Therefore, although originally established to support productivity growth, they are also open to receiving applications for the free mentoring service to help eligible businesses through the Coronavirus crisis. You can find out more about the scheme and which firms would be eligible to apply on the Be the Business website.
If you’d like an initial chat to discover whether either could be the right for you and your business you can email Iain Crighton on email@example.com, who is managing the programmes in Cambridgeshire, or call him on 074074 25315.
A new Accelerator run by the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) is offering free support to help SMEs rapidly innovate during the COVID-19 crisis. SMEs based in the Greater Cambridgeshire and Greater Peterborough area will be eligible for support to enable them to find new, innovative ways to operate, rewire supply chains, and ensure that the needs of the most vulnerable are met.
Support will be delivered through a combination of one-to-one business support, capacity building and mentoring, as well as convening partnerships and drawing on the collective knowledge of CISL’s global network to support small businesses via webinars tailored to local business needs.
Innovate to Adapt is supported by the European Regional Development Fund. You can contact the Accelerator team on firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Environmental Health and Licensing Team would like to thank the businesses within South Cambridgeshire for operating in such a compliant way despite this obviously requiring difficult decisions or significant adaptation to your ways of working. We are dealing with low numbers of concerns from employees and members of the public regarding business closure or Covid-19 controls. If your business requires advice regarding business closure, licensing, food hygiene or health and safety, please contact us at email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org or 03450 450 063.
The Department for International Trade (DIT) can deliver a range of support for UK businesses that export or deliver goods and services abroad and have been impacted by the spread of Coronavirus. It includes:
- DIT support for UK business trading internationally, for example in providing assistance with customs authorities or sourcing new suppliers
- financial support for business trading internationally
DIT are also running a series of webinars to help businesses through Coronavirus.
Companies House have announced that businesses can apply for an additional 3 months to file accounts to help companies avoid penalties as they deal with the impacts of COVID-19. Full guidance on applying for an automatic and immediate extension can be found on the Companies House website.
The Education and Skills Funding Agency is taking steps to ensure that, wherever possible, apprentices can continue and complete their apprenticeship and to support providers during this challenging time. New guidance has been published for apprentices, employers, training providers and assessment organisations.
The National Cyber Security Centre has issued guidance to help you to choose, configure and deploy video conferencing services within your organisation.
HMRC have published guidance to help businesses recognise when contact from them is genuine, and how to recognise phishing or bogus emails and text messages.
The VisitBritian Advice Hub has all of the official information for tourism and event businesses in one place and is updated regularly. This includes:
- Government guidance on business closures and reopening
- Guidance on how to provide a safe environment for both your employees and customers
- A communications guide to keeping in touch with your customers during the COVID-19 pandemic
The Rural Payments Agency has the latest information for farmers, landowners and rural businesses during the Coronavirus outbreak.
The Farming Help Charities – Addington Fund, Farming Community Network (FCN), Forage Aid, Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution and RSABI, supported by The Prince's Countryside Fund - are working together to support the Farming Community during the current Coronavirus outbreak.
Please get in touch on 03000 111 999 if you:
- Feel concerned or anxious and would like to talk to someone who understands farming, will listen to you and help you think through your options
- Would like help to draft a contingency plan to ensure you and your farm are prepared, should you be unable to work for a time
- If you or people you rely on become ill or are self-isolating and you need to find help locally they will endeavour to find support for you in your local area. They will source contact details of local organisations and groups who may be able to assist you in finding help to feed livestock, collect shopping or collect prescriptions if you are unable to do so.
Diversifying your pub and supporting your community
Public is the Hub’s Community Services Fund can help pubs to diversify and support their local community. The free of charge initiative can provide:
- More information on developing your pub into a hub for your community
- Access to experts in the licensing trade
- A grant of up to £3,000, subject to meeting their guidelines
- PR and Media coverage
The Government has provided a list of Business Representative Organisations and Trade Associations that businesses can speak to for advice. Sector specific guidance and Q&A are included on the websites of many of their websites, and many of them are happy to hear from non-members and members alike.
South Cambridgeshire District Council is committed to continuing to work with businesses during the Coronavirus outbreak. We are still issuing tenders for contracts with the Council. If you are interested in finding out what opportunities are available you can go to the Proactis portal or the Contractfinder website. You can also sign up for regular updates on new opportunities from a range of local and national public sector organisations.
Was this web page helpful?