Business secretary Andrea Leadsom has unveiled a £10 million grant scheme for business organisations and trade associations to help UK businesses get ready for Brexit.
The Business Readiness Fund is open to business organisations and trade associations throughout the UK and will support events, training and the production of advice packs to assist businesses in making sure they are fully prepared for a Brexit on 31 October 2019.
Activities funded by the grants must be open to both members and non-members and to businesses large and small, ensuring businesses of all sizes can benefit.
Applications for grants will be accepted up to Monday 30 September 2019 and administered through a dedicated website. Funding will have to be used on activities to be completed ahead of 31 October 2019 in order to ensure they are focused specifically on Brexit preparations.
"The UK will be leaving the EU on 31 October. For businesses that still feel unprepared, I am determined to do everything I possibly can to ensure they are fully ready for Brexit," said Andrea Leadsom.
"We know that companies often rely on the wider business community for help and advice with planning. Business groups will now be given the necessary tools to engage with this crucial task, communicating with non-members and businesses of all sizes."
Craig Beaumont, director of external affairs at the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), said: "As an organisation representing 165,000 small firms and the self-employed in every local community across the UK, we welcome these funds that target small businesses. It is mission critical to the economy that they have the information they need to prepare for Brexit."
The fund will be open to business organisations (including the FSB, British Chambers of Commerce and the Institute of Directors), as well as trade associations, chartered institutes and other professional membership bodies with a significant membership.
Applications are invited for practical advice and support, including: advice packs; information campaigns; webinars; podcasts; events and training workshops.
Activities supported by the fund must:
- Be delivered in their entirety by 31 October 2019;
- Be additional to any activities already planned or in delivery;
- Be made available to all businesses in the relevant sector or geographical area and not restricted to only members or subscribers;
- Be cost-free to businesses;
- Not create a competitive advantage for certain businesses.
The funding is part of the £108 million recently announced by HM Treasury to promote and support businesses ahead of Brexit.
Written by Rachel Miller.