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New business fund set to launch to support ambitious Cherwell-based businesses

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New business fund set to launch to support ambitious Cherwell-based businesses. Image:The Eco Business Centre, in North West Bicester
Image: The Eco Business Centre, in North West Bicester

A new business fund is set to be launched by Cherwell District Council to help companies based in the district move into a renewal phase following the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new scheme – which is being delivered by the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (OxLEP) Business team on behalf of Cherwell District Council – will play a key role in ensuring that Cherwell-based businesses are able to run as efficiently as possible and remain productive particularly in-light of the pandemic.

The Cherwell Business Adaptation Fund is the latest initiative to be delivered by the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (OxLEP), recognising its commitment to supporting the Oxfordshire business community at a critical economic time.

It follows-on from previous grants and support programmes delivered by the Oxfordshire Growth Hub – a dedicated business support team.

The Cherwell Business Adaptation Fund aims to support eligible businesses through grants, ranging between £5,000 and £20,000 per business for capital and/or revenue-based projects.

Through this funding, eligible businesses will be expected to deliver outcomes that will accelerate investment across a number of key business areas.

This includes; strengthening overall business performance, providing supply chain resilience, supporting a transition to net-zero, driving technology and innovation adoption, as well as backing an increase in a business’ sales operation and market share.

To apply for a grant, interested businesses must be based in the Cherwell district, attend a pre-application webinar, which will take place from 8.30 to 10am on 10 May 2022 (or watch the webinar recording) and have also been in operation for at least one financial year. Further eligibility criteria will also apply.

The Cherwell Business Adaptation Fund will open for applications via the OxLEP Business website on 10 May. Applicants need to complete a pre-qualifying process, which will close on or before 27 May (subject to the level of interest) before applying. The closing date for the full applications is at 5.00pm on 07 June. All queries relating to the fund must be submitted to OxLEP Business by 30 May.

Nigel Tipple, Chief Executive of OxLEP, said: “The launch of the Cherwell Business Adaptation Fund is significant news for our business community in the north of the county and a welcomed further line of support for eligible businesses at a critical time.

“Our impact, over the past two years in particular, has been positively received across the county. Between April 2020 and August last year, we engaged with 2,670 businesses across Oxfordshire – following the emergence of Coronavirus – and provided over 12,000 hours of support during the same period.

“Our experience in supporting businesses is second-to-none, and we would therefore encourage Cherwell-based businesses to find out more about this new fund and discover if they are able to benefit from it.”

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, OxLEP Business has introduced a number of new and effective programmes and funds created to provide much-needed support and financial backing to the Oxfordshire business community.

Last year, OxLEP Business committed over £2.24million-worth of funding to companies across multiple sectors in the county via its Business Investment Fund – a significant intervention for Oxfordshire businesses secured by OxLEP via the Government’s Getting Building Fund.

This latest fund is expected to generate significant interest from Cherwell-based businesses, and OxLEP Business are encouraging company leaders to complete their applications as soon as possible.

Businesses successful in securing a Cherwell Business Adaptation Fund grant will be required to have defrayed and claimed all grant-related project costs by 31 January next year.

In addition to this latest fund, businesses from across the county are also being encouraged to complete OxLEP Business’ support tool, which has created hundreds of bespoke business guidance plans for Oxfordshire-based organisations across many sectors, helping to future-proof their operations since the COVID-19 outbreak.

Visit oxlepbusiness.co.uk/cherwell-business-adaptation-fund for more information about the fund.

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