Coronavirus latest Business news and updates for Plymouth businesses

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Plymouth business news

12 February 2021

ARG discretionary grants update

Since opening the ARG on Monday 1 February, we've received almost 1,400 applications. Due to the high volume of applications being received daily, we will be closing the ARG application process on Monday 15 February at 5pm. This will give our team time to review and process the applications. 

From the start of the process, we have been clear that demand for support is likely to outstrip the funding available, which is already the case with the quantity of applications we have received. We are prioritising the allocation of this funding carefully. We will be assessing the demand and allocations, with a focus on paying priority sectors first before looking at what support may be available for applications from other sectors. 

If you have already applied for the ARG, please be patient and wait for us to contact you - we are working as fast as we can. 

We'll provide further updates on this soon. 

Find out more 

New video guides available for applying for business grants

To further support businesses in applying for business grants, understanding eligibility and to answer frequently asked questions about the grants process we have created a guide to grants suite of videos. 

See the videos here 

Join us for an evening with SailGP CEO Sir Russell Coutts

An evening with SailGP CEO Sir Russell Coutts

Plymouth businesses have the opportunity to join five-time America’s Cup winner, Olympic gold medallist and SailGP CEO Sir Russell Coutts for a virtual event to discuss the forthcoming Great Britain Grand Prix, hosted by Plymouth this summer.

The Great Britain Grand Prix | Plymouth takes place 17-18 July and the forum is designed to brief local businesses on the event and provide a unique insight into SailGP – the sports pinnacle league.

Plymouth will host the third event in the global league’s calendar with racing taking place in Plymouth Sound. SailGP features eight national teams made up of the sport’s best athletes – including Great Britain’s Sir Ben Ainslie – battling it out on identical, supercharged F50 catamarans that have been engineered for intense racing at electrifying speeds. The event will also be broadcast live on Sky Sports. 

The online event will be held on 22 February at 6.30pm.

Please register to attend by 19 February at 9am here.

Freezone bid could be worth millions to Devon economy

Plymouth City Council has joined forces with neighbours at Devon County Council and South Hams District Council in a bid to unlock £35 million pounds of funding for the area. 

The Freeport bid, which was submitted to the government on Friday, would see the area become one of 10 zones around the country to benefit from import and export tax reliefs to help drive jobs, growth, and innovation. 

A Plymouth and South Devon freezone would create space for businesses to import goods and materials, add value to them (by manufacture), and export them and leverage the city’s marine innovation strengths to attract big marine sector tech companies. Industry giants Babcock and Princess Yachts have already backed the bid. 

Read more here

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

Updated Government Guidance

Chancellor eases burden on more than a million businesses through Pay as You Grow flexible repayment options (New)

  • Businesses that took out government-backed Bounce Back Loans to get through Covid-19 will now have greater flexibility to repay their loans, the government announced this week:
  • Bounce Back Loan borrowers will now have the option to tailor payments according to their individual circumstances,
  • Chancellor makes support even more generous with the option to delay all repayments for a further six months,
  • Pay as You Grow will be available to over 1.4 million businesses, which collectively took out nearly £45 billion through the Bounce Back Loan Scheme.

Find out more

Government announces £20 million SME Brexit Support Fund

  • The £20 million SME Brexit Support Fund will help small businesses with changes to trade rules with the EU,
  • Traders will be able to apply for a grant of up to £2,000 to pay for practical support for importing and exporting,
  • The fund will help businesses prepare for the implementation of import controls which come into force from April and July,

Find out more

Restaurants, Pubs and Cafes Guidance Updated

The primary guidance for restaurants, pubs and cafes has been updated to include a section on Workplace testing which states that it’s important to continue to follow the working safely measures, even if employees have:

    • received a recent negative test result
    • had the vaccine (either 1 or 2 doses)

Also that employers can order rapid lateral flow tests, to test employees with no coronavirus symptoms if:

    • the business is registered in England
    • the business employs 50 people or more
    • employees cannot work from home

There is also a requirement that the businesses have to be operating at the moment so many businesses in these sectors will probably have to wait until they reopen in order to be able to order tests.

Find out more

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


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



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