The Durham Business Recovery Grant has awarded £119,000 to four businesses across County Durham to enable them to expand into new markets.
Launched in January, the £5 million grant funded by Durham County Council is aimed at businesses affected by the COVID-19 crisis who are developing credible plans to meet the challenges caused by the pandemic – such as adapting business models, developing new products or entering new markets.
The grant has proved extremely popular since its launch in January receiving 467 applications worth £6.9 million. Four of the earliest recipients of the Durham Business Recovery Grant scheme will use it to help implement recovery plans to overcome the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on their business.
Each of the companies have secured grants to enable them to purchase new equipment, develop new products, adapt their operational models and expand into new markets. The grants will help to safeguard over 17 jobs.
The successful businesses include Hudson Media Services, electrical and mechanical engineers IVIC LTD, Quarry Burn Restaurant and the Morritt Hotel and Garage Spa.
Hudson Media Services, in Bowburn, provide interactive bid management training to national and international businesses looking to sell into the UK market. The company has received a grant to help towards the development of Tender VLE which will allow them to expand the business globally, reaching more organisations virtually, instead of relying on face-to-face delivery.
Peterlee based IVIC LTD plans to use its grant to purchase new machinery and equipment to develop and produce bespoke LED lighting products to widen its customer base as well as creating UV lights with potential to suppress Covid.
When it was forced to close due to the pandemic, Quarry Burn Restaurant in Hunwick near Crook set up a successful takeaway and delivery service selling home cooked food with good quality ingredients from local suppliers. The business is planning to re-open as a deli and tea-room as well as a takeaway service and the recovery grant will help towards the purchase of equipment needed for food preparation, storage and operations of the three different elements to the business.
The Morritt Hotel and Garage Spa near Barnard Castle will use its grant to convert a large self-catering property into two smaller separate units, to better support Covid-safe bookings. The conversion will be carried out to a high standard improving the overall aesthetics in line with the hotel and onsite spa and improving the visitor offer in the area.
Matthew Robertson, General Manager at The Morritt Hotel and Garage Spa, said: “The grant has enabled us to invest in one of our key assets at a time when hospitality regionally and nationally is in need of support and confidence. It would have been impossible to undertake such a project in this current climate alone, and it’s an incredibly positive step towards opening our doors again and enhancing the facilities and standards we offer all our guests. The impact of investment at this time has demonstrated to our staff and our local market that we fully intend to come out of this stronger and better.”
82 businesses of varying size have secured funding already with over £1.12 million being awarded to date, two thirds of the grants being awarded to smaller projects. Sectors supported include business services, construction, healthcare, information and communication, retail and hospitality, manufacturing, engineering and tourism. The applications received to date from across the county, will help to safeguard up to 700 jobs.
The grant scheme, overseen by Business Durham, the economic development arm of Durham County Council, provides grants from £1,000 up to a maximum of £40,000 for businesses with a clear recovery plan.
The scheme is supporting companies across County Durham, in all sectors and varying in size from micro-businesses to those employing up to 250 people in the County.
Cllr Carl Marshall, Durham County Council’s cabinet member for economic regeneration, said: “We launched the £5 million Durham Business Recovery Grant scheme to demonstrate our commitment to local businesses and help them get back on track after the biggest economic disruption in living memory.
“With the prospect of the economy gradually starting to open up, it’s great to see so many County Durham businesses coming forward with clear recovery plans outlining how the recovery grant can give them the cash injection they need to reach new customers, manufacture new products and diversify into new markets. It’s vital that we continue to help businesses to adapt and thrive, while safeguarding jobs and developing a sustainable economy for the long term.”
Sarah Slaven, interim Managing Director of Business Durham, said: “We are delighted to be able to fund these four businesses, together with all of the other companies that have been awarded grants so far, to help each of them tackle the challenges from the ongoing crisis and position themselves for recovery.
“Each of these companies have outlined clear recovery plans and identified how funding from the Durham Business Recovery Grant can help them to get their business back on track. It is inspiring to see the grant scheme helping businesses and giving hope for the future after such a difficult year.”