Over 10,000 SME owners apply for £25,000 Business Boost grant
Over 10,000 SME owners, self-employed and budding entrepreneurs have applied for a single £25,000 Business Boost grant from insurer Simply Business, as the current economic climate takes a toll on small businesses.
This milestone comes as the UK is facing the biggest rise in small business vacancies in at least eight years, with a loss of 1,915 bricks and mortar stores in the first half of this year. In light of this, the Business Boost grant is designed to give UK small businesses a significant helping hand in the face of wider economic challenges – including the cost of living rising at an alarming rate, energy bill increases, inflation and supply challenges.
The recent SME Insights Report from Simply Business delves deeper into the impact the cost-of-living crisis continues to have on UK SMEs, alongside the wider effects of the current economic climate. More than a quarter (26%) of small business owners in the UK believe that they will be forced to cease trading if the outlook for their business does not improve - a potentially detrimental blow to the UK economy.
SME owners are further strained by a backlog of late payments, reaching a staggering £32.1 billion and 25% of small business owners admit they may have to dip into personal savings to sustain their businesses. Moreover, 26% of SMEs are already grappling with monthly energy expenses which are up to 40% higher than the previous year, with some reporting an astonishing 150% surge in monthly energy costs.
A panel of expert judges, from the world of business including Simply Business’s Small Business Ambassador Baroness Karren Brady, the founder and CEO of SliderCuts, Mark Maciver and the winner of BBC’s the Apprentice 2022 and co-founder of Oh So Yum, Hapreet Kaur joins the panel again this year among others who will decide on the final winner of the grant.
Alan Thomas, UK CEO at Simply Business, comments: “We’re astounded by the sheer number of applications we’ve received for our Business Boost grant and it shows the level of impact the cost-of-living crisis and soaring energy bills have had on SMEs financially.
“We want to make a genuine transformational impact to one owner’s life. This is why we’re giving away £25,000 to one entrepreneur, to start or revive their business, and provide a financial boost in economically challenging times.
“Small businesses play a vital role in our communities and contribute enormously to our economy. It only felt right to continue with our Business Boost grant for the fourth year, having witnessed its positive impact on three deserving small businesses in previous years.