Coronavirus: New grants to help NI businesses recover

By Clodagh Rice
BBC News NI Business Correspondent

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Image caption, The grants are targeted in sectors such as construction, manufacturing, tourism, science and technology

Two new schemes to help NI businesses recover from the impact of Covid have been announced by the economy minister.

Businesses will be able to apply for £8,000 grants in both schemes, one of which will be administered by Tourism NI and the other by Invest NI.

Both schemes open for applications on Wednesday and shut on 30 November 2020.

The economy minister said the Invest NI scheme contributes toward the cost of an adviser to carry out an analysis and strategic review of businesses.

"It is targeted at businesses operating in the areas of manufacturing, construction, professional services and those involved in the information and communication sector and in the science and technology sectors, as well as businesses which are already working with Invest NI," said Diane Dodds.

To be eligible for the Invest NI scheme, you must be a "micro or small to medium enterprise" with annual turnover of at least £500,000 that saw a 40% fall in turnover between April-June because of Covid-19.

The chief executive of Invest NI, Kevin Holland, said: "Invest NI's new scheme is designed to help businesses critically review their business operations.

"This tailored, practical support is one of the best ways we can ensure more businesses not only survive the pressures of Covid-19 but come out the other end stronger."

Applicants to the Tourism NI scheme must be an existing tourism business operating in Northern Ireland.

Chief Executive of Tourism NI John McGrillen said: "This is a very challenging time for many tourism businesses across Northern Ireland as we move into the low season whilst trying to manage the continued uncertainty arising from Covid-19.

"Tourism NI's programme will help support those businesses to put in place plans to help them survive the winter period and best position them for recovery."

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