Business support: Are you eligible for free advice?

Business support can be a lifeline for SMEs, so accessing the support you need to grow your business is vital. If COVID-19 has negatively affected your business, you could be eligible for free business support. We explain more about the business support being offered by South East Business Boost (SEBB) and how to find out if you’re eligible.

What does the free business support include?

The aim of SEBB’s offer is to provide 12 hours of free business support to the new and established businesses that have been most impacted by COVID-19. Applications are currently open to businesses within the local authority areas of Essex.

After an initial assessment to help business leaders evaluate the impact COVID-19 has had on their business; workshops and mentoring will be delivered by proven experts. The 12 hours of free support will cover topics such as; ‘Getting your business online’, ‘Making the most of Social Media’ and ‘Adapting your products/processes to meet the needs of your customers’.

Is my business eligible?

According to the SEBB, in order to apply, your business needs to:

  • Be located in the Essex, Southend, or Thurrock Local Authority areas. You may still be eligible if your business is registered outside of this area if you have a location in one of these areas.
  • Employ less than 250 employees in total.
  • Have a turnover of less than €50 million.
  • Have a balance Sheet less than €43 million.
  • Have not had State Aid of €200,000 or more in the last three fiscal years.
  • Have not received support from the previous SEBB programme (either a grant, 12 hours of one-to-one mentoring or 12 hours attendance at workshops).
  • Not be in one the following business sectors:
    • fishery and aquaculture
    • agriculture
    • coal
    • steel and shipbuilding
    • synthetic fibres
    • state funded education and health
    • banking and insurance

How to apply

To make your application quick and easy, make sure your finances are in good shape. Speak to your accountant. Let them know that you are going to apply and that you need to be able to show your balance sheet and turnover. Your accountant is also likely to have the details of any R&D spend, your VAT number, if applicable, and other grants or state aid received.

Once you have that information to hand, registration can be completed in around 10 minutes.

What other support is available?

If your business doesn’t meet the criteria above, go to your local South East Growth Hub for more business resources and advice.

Your accountant can also provide additional business support. They are well placed to know the gaps in your business and where additional support is needed. Perhaps there are grants available to you that you are not aware of?

Our COVID-19 Business section provides the latest news and announcements to help your business get the financial support available.

Need further advice on any of the topics being discussed? Get in touch and see how we can help.

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I’m an experienced copywriter, with a great attention to detail. Having previously held positions at a global publisher, a top 100 law firm and a Big Four professional services firm, I now work with clients across a range of industries. Whether it’s new content for a website or creating interesting blogs for my clients, I can create engaging copy that doesn’t take a lifetime to read.

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