Applications open 9 September 2020 for new Covid-19 business support schemes

  • Economy Minister Diane Dodds today (8 September) announced two new support schemes to help businesses bounce back from the impact of Covid-19.

    A new £1m Digital Selling Capability Grant to help retailers and wholesalers generate business online, and a £5m Equity Investment Fund targeted at early stage and seed stage SMEs, will open for applications tomorrow (9 September).

    The Covid-19 Digital Selling Capability Grant will provide a maximum grant of £20,000 to eligible small and medium-sized retailers to support 50% of eligible costs.

    Projects must have a minimum eligible expenditure of £10,000. The first application call will run from 9 September to 7 October 2020. Full details on the scheme and eligibility criteria are available on

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    The Covid-19 Equity Investment Fund will provide matching equity investment or convertible loan notes of up to a maximum of £700,000 for technology and innovative businesses.

    The scheme is typically focussed on the sectors of advanced manufacturing, materials and engineering, digital and creative technologies, life and health sciences, cyber security, precision medicine, big data, internet of things and analytics.

    All legal documents for approved equity investments must be in place by 31 December 2020. Full details on the scheme and eligibility criteria are available on

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    The schemes, operated by Invest Northern Ireland, are the first of multiple new initiatives being developed by the economic growth agency to help companies in the wake of Covid-19.

    Kevin Holland, CEO at Invest NI, said: “We are confident that the Digital Selling Grant will provide exactly the sort of practical support that will help retailers to develop new ways of doing business and support them to remain viable and competitive for the longer term.

    “SMEs are the lifeblood of the Northern Ireland economy, and the Equity Investment Fund will provide early stage SMEs with access to vital investment to develop their business.

    “We are continuing to work through the necessary approvals and testing to get our other new schemes operational as soon as possible.”

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    Source: Written from press release

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    Niamh is a Sync NI writer with a previous background of working in FinTech and financial crime. She has a special interest in sports and emerging technologies. To connect with Niamh, feel free to send her an email or connect on Twitter.

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