New grants between £1,000 and £5,000 could help farmers and rural businesses in Cumbria recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Two schemes have been announced by Cumbria Business Growth Hub, one specifically for tourism firms and the other open to all sectors.
Businesses can apply for grants to cover the cost of buying-in specialist advice to address their immediate needs in response to the virus.
They must be able to demonstrate a 40 percent loss of income, caused by the pandemic, between March and June compared with the same period in 2019.
Suzanne Caldwell, Deputy Chief Executive of Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, the lead partner in the Growth Hub, said it was a 'great opportunity' for firms.
“I’d urge them to act quickly though. There is a finite pot of money and it’s a very much a case of first come, first served.
“While the maximum grant is £5,000, we expect most to be in the range £1,000 and £3,000," Ms Caldwell said.
The grants can be used to buy specialist advice including HR, accountancy, legal, financial, health and safety, IT/digital and sector-related consultancy.
They may be used to boost productivity through digital tools, such as yield-management software, mentoring, networking or other measures.
The Growth Hub said frms could use the grants to adapt to social distancing, such as new ways to deliver cultural events and festivals, or buy equipment to help continue to deliver business activity or diversify.
It added that new start-ups, which may not have trading figures from last year to show they suffered a 40% loss of income, will be able to compare against forecast income instead. The same applies to businesses on high-growth trajectories.
To start the application process, Cumbria-based businesses have been told to email email@example.com.