Coronavirus latest Business news and updates for Plymouth businesses

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Plymouth business news

5 February 2021

An update on ARG discretionary grants

We have had unprecedented demand for the ARG discretionary business grant scheme which opened on Monday 1 February.  We’ve received over 1,000 applications this week and at this rate of applications it’s like that the fund will be quickly oversubscribed, with demand far outstripping the available financial support, so we are having to prioritise.

It is an important principle of this grant scheme that we don’t hand out the money only on a first come first served basis, we need to ensure that we are fairly distributing funds to businesses that are most in need of support.

We have identified the following priority sectors for this round of discretionary funding.

  • Fishing businesses
  • Childcare providers
  • Tradespeople and businesses who supply businesses that are required to close (e.g retail and hospitality) 
  • Creative and event businesses who work from home and their venues are ordered to shut 
  • Businesses who pay packaged rent and rates who are required to shut or who supply businesses that are required to close and have been significantly impacted due to restrictions

Applications will be approved in tranches on a fortnightly basis. For the first tranche of funding we will initially focus on approving applications received from within these priority sectors, as we have done in previous rounds of the ARG.

If you are in a priority sector it is therefore important that you apply as soon as possible, so we are able to properly review the applications against our limited grant allocation.

This will then allow us to review demand and determine how we proceed to ensure the scheme is administered as fairly as possible to everyone. We will issue a further update next week.

We know that getting the money into business bank accounts as quickly as possible is really important but please bear with us. Once your application has been submitted please allow a minimum of 2 weeks to hear from us as we work through processing and approving applications.

Find out more 

Register today for the Growth Support Programme

If you are a sole trader, micro business or limited company in Devon or Somerset, including Plymouth and Torbay, you can register your interest in receiving either 3 or 12 hours of business advice, support and training with the Growth Support Programme by completing the form on the link below.

The Growth Support Programme is funded by the European Regional Development Fund and as such some eligibility criteria apply. You will need to be able to answer ‘Yes’ to the first three questions to register your interest with this programme. Please complete the form on the link below and we will contact you within 5 working days.

If you have any questions regarding the programme and the support on offer, please contact

The Growth Support Programme is managed by Devon County Council. Any data you enter into the form below will be shared with the Heart of the South West Growth Hub and Devon County Council and its delivery partners in order to deliver the programme.

Find out more

Keep your business moving: New video explainers on doing business with Europe

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has launched a series of new, on demand videos to help businesses familiarise themselves with the new rules and the actions they should take. Businesses can find out more about 18 topics, including importing and exporting, trade, data, and audit and accounting.

Register now to immediately access the video content. New rules are here – make sure your business is prepared.

Apply for a Kickstart Scheme grant

If you are an employer looking to create jobs placements for young people, you can apply for funding as part of the Kickstart Scheme. The Kickstart Scheme has changed. You no longer need a minimum of 30 job placements to apply directly for a grant. 

You can now apply for a Kickstart Scheme grant by either: 

Employers can spread the start date of the job placements up until the end of December 2021. 

If you need help with the Kickstart Scheme process, contact your local Kickstart Scheme contacts. 

For promotional materials, check the Kickstart Scheme employer guide. 

Digital Creative Plymouth: £250 for creative and digital ideas in Plymouth

Crowdfunder is helping creative digital ideas become a reality in Plymouth and the surrounding area. If you have an idea that meets the criteria of this fund you could get an extra cash injection alongside what you raise from the crowd. They are also offering one-to-one expert crowdfunding coaching to 10 of the best ideas. 

The iMayflower programme is supporting creative digital ideas in South West England

You need a crowdfunding project to apply for funding. Start or continue adding your project and, if eligible, you'll be prompted to apply.


  • Projects must be in the creative industries
  • Be an early stage startup and/or starting a new venture
  • Projects must have a focus on digital innovation, for example; a new digital service product, or looking to adapt digitally.
  • Projects can also be developing a new digital element of an existing business eg. online shop, virtual workshops etc.

Eligible projects will receive £250 towards their target and also expert crowdfunding advice from one of our coaches.

To receive a £250 match, projects must raise at least £250 from the crowd.

The money pledged will be released once a project has closed successfully.

Find out more

Inspiring new education facility to develop marine and engineering skills in Plymouth

A new dedicated learning environment is opening at Oceansgate, Plymouth’s marine enterprise zone, with teaching expected to start this September.

City College Plymouth is transforming 631 square metres of industrial unit into a bespoke facility to deliver new university-level courses that will provide high-quality and up-to-date training to people both looking to work and already working in the marine and engineering industries.

Alongside the development of the new state-of-the-art building, new degree programmes have been developed as part of the South West Institute of Technology project.

The College has worked closely with local employers to identify the skills required and has used this to develop four Bachelor of Science degrees linked to naval architecture, marine engineering, integrated technologies and autonomous engineering. These programmes will further shape the future workforce, and allow students to continue their studies on a part-time basis beyond levels 4 and 5.

Find out more

Plymouth Science Park welcomes their latest tenant, Gathering Momentum

Award winning Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Data Management consultancy, Gathering Momentum are looking forward to moving into Plymouth Science Park.

Gathering Momentum provides impartial CRM adoption and development services to help their clients improve sales, employee engagement and management decision making. Through the automation of sales and marketing processes, report generation and other back office functions, Gathering Momentum enables organisations of all sizes to benefit from greater systemisation and growth.

Despite being a small team, Gathering Momentum’s experience spans 25 years, and after continued expansion of the business through 2020, the move to Plymouth Science Park will support their ambitious development plans, as they work on launching a ‘self-service’ web-based version of their CRM selection and implementation service for small to medium-sized enterprises.

Find out more

Updated Government Guidance

Providing apprenticeships during the coronavirus outbreak 

Guidance has been updated with information on face-to-face training and when to consider a break in an apprenticeship. 

NHS Test and Trace in the workplace 

Guidance on what to do if you or someone you employ is contacted by NHS Test and Trace has been updated on with information on when to contact your local health protection team 

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme: Claims for the third grant have now closed  

The last date for making a claim for the third grant was 29 January 2021. Details about the fourth grant will be announced on 3 March 2021. Find out more here 

The deadline for applications for the Christmas Support Payment for wet-led pubs has been extended 

Guidance has been updated to reflect the deadline for applications for the Christmas Support Payment for wet-led pubs has been extended to 28 February 2021. For more information on eligibility, what you get and how to apply, click here. 

Business Representative Organisations and Trade Associations are providing coronavirus related support for specific sectors. 

The government is working closely with Business Representative Organisations and Trade Associations to support the national response to coronavirus.  A list is available here.  

Driver and rider trainer guidanceTeaching mobile emergency workers with an emergency driving test booked 

Guidance has been updated with added information and the rules about teaching mobile emergency workers with an emergency driving test booked in England and Wales. You cannot do this in Scotland.  

Virtual events/webinars

For further information on the latest events, visit Invest Plymouth's event page.

If you have a Plymouth event you'd like promoted, you can submit your own events here


Virtual Opportunity Fair for National Apprenticeship Week 

National Apprenticeship Week | 8 to 14 February

Each day 10am to 12noon – Follow @JCPinPlymouth on Twitter for live vacancies

Each day 2pm to 3pm – Meet local employers and training providers

Looking to build your skills and knowledge for a rewarding career? Thinking about a career change?

Join us for a virtual showcase of Apprenticeships (open to everyone 16 years+), Traineeships and Kickstarts (open to 16-24 year olds) vacancies available for you to apply, in and around Plymouth.

Contact your work coach to be booked in for the afternoon employer sessions


Smart Citizens Programme

Fab Lab Plymouth | Multiple dates

Want to expe­ri­ence cit­i­zens’ lab to design and make objects, prod­ucts or art­work? The events, work­shops and train­ing are open to all abil­i­ties, groups and ages.

These series of events include:

  • Introduction to 2D Digital Design
  • Introduction to 3D Digital Design
  • Material Ethics: The Sustainability Conundrum
  • Smart Citizens Introduction Webinar

Find out more


Accelerating Women's Enterprise

Outset CIC | Multiple dates

Outset CIC is currently delivering the Accelerating Women’s Enterprise (AWE) programme, which is a collaborative project to help women living in some of the regions either side of the English Channel to increase their personal skills and develop their business ideas and knowledge.

Outset CIC will support women through new training workshops, face to face advice, mentoring and online learning, all developed specifically for women.

Find out more


Branding for Growth

Get Set for Growth | Friday 12 February, 10am to 1pm

This interactive workshop looks at the importance of your brand as the core part of a wider marketing growth strategy. We will cover all aspects of branding such as positioning, promise, personality and story to ensure your brand and niche is a winning combination for your business.

Find out more 


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

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