July 17, 2020 @ 10:55 by Alison Cowie
A new support fund for Teesside-based small and medium-sized businesses in the hospitality, tourism and events industry has been launched.
The £250,000 Back to Business Fund will allow firms to get direct professional support, advice and guidance in areas such as HR, accountancy, legal, financial, health and safety, IT and digital to aid their recovery and future growth.
It will support businesses within the visitor sector to develop new business strategies, cashflow planning, new HR policies and changes to digital methods including shifts to online trading.
Grants between £1000 and £3000 will be available for businesses operating in the hospitality and visitor economy across Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool to get in touch and apply.
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen (pictured), who launched the fund yesterday (July 16), also wants to hear from professional advisors who are interested in offering their services. Their details and a brief description will be published on the Tees Valley Business website so those businesses in need can be pointed in the right direction.
Speaking to an online meeting of the Tees Valley Business Club, Mayor Houchen said: “Across Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool, we know that we have a wealth of professional advisors that can provide the advice, support and guidance that many of our businesses require at this difficult time.
“It is crucially important that we work together and support our businesses to drive forward our economy during the recovery from coronavirus and to shape a better future for our region.
He continued: “Our hospitality and visitor businesses are hugely important. Not only do they play a key role in supporting thousands of local jobs in our economy, they also bring so much joy to local people.
“In delivering this new programme, I’m keen for our amazing small and medium-sized hospitality, tourism and events businesses to benefit from the experience we have in the region so they can get the support they need.”
Jane Reynolds, the chair of Tees Valley Business Club added: “Despite the challenging times, our members have continued to utilise the strong business network we have in the Tees Valley, sharing best practice to help us move forward as a region. The Mayor has remained close to those members, attending our monthly virtual events to understand specific challenges and provide updates as to his plans. This announcement is another example of the positive steps implemented by Ben and the combined authority to support businesses to help them gather momentum as lockdown restrictions begin to be lifted.”
Visitor economy businesses interested in applying for funding should initially submit an expression on interest through the online form available on the Tees Valley Business website at www.teesvalleybusiness.com.