News and information for local businesses - 20 August 2020

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Plymouth business news

20 August 2020

Please find below an overview of the latest business advice and guidance, including the latest COVID-19 news. In today's newsletter you will find news and updates on:

  • New skills service launched to help the people and employers of Plymouth
  • Staff Skills in the Spotlight
  • Millions of self employed to benefit from second stage of support scheme
  • Small Business Workforce Fund now available 
  • Growth Support Kickstart Grant Scheme
  • Latest news from Plymouth Science Park
  • Outset August Newsletter
  • ESFA Employer Survey
  • Funding streams and competitions
  • Virtual events and webinars

If you have any specific concerns or are in need of support, please contact us.

Skills Launchpad Plymouth: New skills service launched to help the people and employers of Plymouth

With so much uncertainty surrounding grades, jobs and employment at the moment, it is understandable that this could be causing some anxiety or confusion for teenagers and their parents.

As an immediate response for Resurgam Plymouth’s Economic Recovery programme which includes a Skills4Plymouth Pillar, Plymouth City Council, working in city-wide partnership, has set up ‘Skills Launchpad Plymouth’.

This new virtual FREE one-stop-shop skills service aims to help local people stay informed to equip themselves with the skills and confidence that they will need to play a part in the city’s future, targeting support for young people through the new Youth Hub and supporting those who are facing redundancy through the new Adult Hub.

The intention is to help local people to build the skills that local employers need both today and in the future to fill jobs. The Launchpad will be continuously developed as the city’s go-to place for local skills support, providing orientation and up-to-date, real-time job market intelligence so that local people can stay informed about employment opportunities. It will also offer impartial information, advice and guidance to match opportunities to pathways into education, training, apprenticeships, employment, work experience, volunteering and self-employment.

The next development for the Launchpad will focus on creating an ‘Employer Hub’ as the ‘go to place’ for local businesses to source impartial information, advice and guidance about all things Plymouth specific skills and employment related.

Read the full press release here

Visit the Skills Launchpad website here 

If you require any further information about Skills Launchpad Plymouth, would like to input to the new Employer Hub or receive marketing assets to share through your own channels, please contact Emma Hewitt

Staff Skills in the Spotlight

Businesses have had to react swiftly to the fast pace of change we’ve all experienced this year and ensuring staff skills are up to date has been crucial for local business leaders.

Part of Plymouth City Council, the Adult learning service On Course South West has been working with partners and employers across Plymouth and surrounding areas to ensure they can access the skills development their employees need. 

Joanna Dennison, Service Lead, explains how the team has supported businesses through the challenges of this year, “We know how important training is to Plymouth businesses so we have created a range of flexible options that have delivered exactly what local employers have needed to keep on top of training requirements.  As the working environment continues to change, we are now introducing new course options that cover a range of workplace and digital skills, business management and administration qualifications and much more.”

Find out more here

Millions of self employed to benefit from second stage of support scheme

Millions of self-employed people whose livelihoods have been affected by coronavirus will be able to claim a second payment of up to £6,570 – as the government continues to help drive the UK’s recovery.

Find out more here

Small Business Workforce Fund now available - supporting Devon SMEs with access to graduate talent

The University of Plymouth, with support from the European Regional Development Fund, have recently launched the Small Business Workforce Fund to support SMEs in the region to access graduate talent to fill emerging skill gaps and to support with economic recovery.

The project can support with all aspects of the recruitment process, along with grant payments to cover 50% of the graduates’ salary up to £200 per week, for 12 weeks.

Targeted to SMEs who are responding to the COVID-relief effort, or those looking to make changes to their existing services, products or process, we aim to provide access to adaptable, talented graduates with relevant skills and abilities to support businesses through these difficult times.

Contact University of Plymouth to find out more information and recruit a graduate now – email or visit

Growth Support Kickstart Grant Scheme

Small businesses and the tourism sector across Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay are among those who can benefit from the Growth Support Kickstart Grant Scheme offering grants of up to £3,000.

It follows the recent government announcement of a £10 million national investment to kickstart the tourism economy and a £20 million national investment to support small business to get going again and recover from the impacts of COVID-19. The Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership (HotSW LEP) has been awarded a £771,164 share of this funding to help with the economic recovery in the region.

Find out more here

Latest news from Plymouth Science Park

EyeControl is the latest tenant to locate to Plymouth Science Park

EyeControl, an Israeli medical technology startup, was founded in 2016, by three entrepreneurs, each with a personal connection to Locked-in individuals. After opening a UK subsidiary in 2019, the team behind this ground-breaking communication solution is setting up their first UK office at Plymouth Science Park. 

Find out more here


UK government Future Fund invests £250,000 in Pulsiv Solar

Pulsiv Solar, based at Plymouth Science Park, has announced that it has successfully raised £500,000 via a convertible loan including £250,000 investment from the UK Government’s Future Fund, established to support innovative businesses through the COVID-19 outbreak.

Find out more here


Mental Performance Consultant to professional footballers is one of the latest tenant to locate to Plymouth Science Park

According to Mark Bowden, the director of Mark Bowden Ltd (trading as Top Form Global), the latest tenant to move to Plymouth Science Park, it’s not about ability, but about being able to perform at your peak level consistently.

Find out more here


Continued Growth Triggers Expansion for Acronyms at Plymouth Science Park

As a result of the growth in business, Acronyms, which is based at Plymouth Science Park has expanded its office space to support the increased demand and to enable appropriate social distancing.

Find out more here

Outset August Newsletter

As summer marches on and many businesses start trading once again, Outset is offering a range of new fully-funded online workshops through Enterprise Coaching to help your clients develop their skills and get their business moving.

View the newsletter here

ESFA Employer Survey

The ESFA are currently seeking the views of employers via a short survey which focuses on the subject of front loading off-the-job- training.

Closing date for replies is Monday 24 August.

Complete the survey here

Funding streams and competitions

Applications Open for Second Self-employed Support Grants

The Government's coronavirus support scheme for the self-employed has opened for a second and final batch of claims. Individuals or members of partnerships whose business has been adversely affected by COVID-19 can now apply for a Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant worth 70% of their average monthly trading profits.

Applications for the second and final grant are now open. Applicants must make a claim on or before 19 October 2020.

Find out more here


SMART Grants: August 2020

The next round of the SMART grants will open on Friday 28 August. SMART grants are open to a wide variety of innovations with the potential to be game-changing in their industry. 

Watch the video on the link below to find out more about the SMART grants opportunity. 

Find out more here


Culture Recovery Fund: Grants now open

The application portal has opened for Government’s £500 million Culture Recovery Fund: Grants. This fund is for cultural organisations affected by the Covid-19 crisis. If you’re at risk of no longer trading viably by the end of this financial year, then you can be helped.

Round one is open from now, until 12pm (midday) Friday 21 August. Round two is open from Friday 21 August, until 12 (midday) Friday 4 September.

Find out more here

Virtual events and webinars

For further information on the latest virtual events, or to upload and promote yours, visit Invest Plymouth's event page.

You can also submit your own virtual events


Bounce Back Digital series

Bounce Back Digital | Multiple dates

21/08/2020, 10am – Guide to Office 365 – Have you got the Office 365 suite, but recognise you are not using it to its full potential? We will give you a whistle-stop tour of the product and show you the wide range of software you have at your fingertips, including, Forms, OneNote, Planner, Stream, SharePoint and the Power Automate Suite. Leave you feeling inspired about the tools you have at your fingertips. Book here

27/08/2020, 10am – Guide to Google Suite – The session will focus on improving your skills to confidently host and run Teams, Zoom and Meet events. We will provide you with ideas to prepare and deliver your sessions with ease and help improve your confidence with each technology. We will also offer key security and privacy tips and techniques. Book here

27/08/2020, 10am – Typeform - Automating Your Business – Typeform is a revolutionary “one question at a time” online form and survey builder. It helps you build dynamic customer interfaces online integrated to your website or independently. Book here


Autonomy in Plymouth - Oceansgate Marine Technology Webinar Series

Marine AI/Oceansgate | Wednesday 26 August, 11am to 11.45am

Oceansgate, in partnership with Maritime UK South West and other local partners, have organised a programme of webinars to showcase exactly what our thriving marine sector has to offer.

Marine AI Ltd is a software engineering firm specialising in edge-based sensor-driven cognitive artificial intelligence to deliver safety-critical marine autonomy.

Marine AI Ltd is developing a product set called Guardian that encompasses decision-support to manned vessel operations (Guardian Manned) as well as autonomous control of unmanned vessels (Guardian Autonomy).

Find out more here


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Keep up to date with news and advice on our COVID-19 business support page 

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