The Mayor of London has launched a new support hub for struggling small businesses, as applications also open for a new £1 million fund to help London’s firms survive the dual impacts of COVID-19 and Brexit.
Sadiq Khan has announced the launch of the London Business Hub to provide a range of free support and funding opportunities to SMEs, as well as releasing the details of a new fund to help SMEs with the COVID-19 recovery.
Funding of up to £30,000 will be rewarded to projects that develop innovative solutions to the environmental and economic challenges facing the London’s economy.
This could include new ways of using data and technology to identify and address vulnerabilities in supply chains, local food or energy production, Mr Khan explained.
“The London Business Hub and this new fund will help our businesses tackle the dual challenges of COVID-19 and the risk of a no-deal Brexit,” said Mr Khan.
“The coronavirus pandemic has hit London’s business community hard, with social distancing requirements and a reduction in footfall leaving many small and medium-sized companies struggling to survive.
“As many continue to worry about their cashflow and how they’re going to pay the bills, I want to do all I can from City Hall to provide the practical help and support London’s SMEs need to get through these difficult times.”
The Mayor also revealed he has written to the Prime Minister urging that if the latest round of Brexit talks ends in no significant progress being made, the government must put the national interest first and seek an immediate extension to the trade negotiations of at least 12 months, allowing businesses to focus on the priorities of dealing with the virus, and protecting jobs.
Commenting on Mr Khan’s announcement, Rowena Howie, FSB London policy chair, reinforced the need for “tangible and relevant” help for small business during these challenging times.
“We are particularly keen for support to be given to those who have been more adversely affected through the COVID crisis. For those who have missed out on grants, loans and general business support – this service must offer a pathway to recovery,” Ms Howie said.
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