As a result of Covid-19, Northumberland County Council and Advance Northumberland have created a service dedicated to helping businesses manage the impact of the crisis and plan their recovery.
Following The North of Tyne Combined Authority’s recent pledge of £5 million to help businesses and communities in the North of Tyne area respond to Covid-19. A grant of £1.5 million from the Covid-19 Capacity fund was secured by Northumberland County Council.
An element of the funding allocation is being used to fund The Northumberland Covid Business Response (NCBRP) programme which will be delivered by Advance Northumberland on behalf of Northumberland County Council and the Northumberland Business Hub. The Northumberland Business Hub was established by the County Council to support businesses through COVID19, and is at the heart of their plans for recovery.
The programme has two distinct areas of delivery in assisting eligible businesses within the County as they look to adapt to new market opportunities and new ways of working and engaging with customers because of COVID-19.
The Business Advantage element of the fund will allow Northumberland based small, medium and large businesses to explore and develop new methods of delivery, supported by expert 121 coaching. Eligible businesses will have access to 12 hours 1-2-1 coaching or consultancy to explore new methods of business delivery, increase productivity or become more resilient. All coaching and consultancy will be delivered by sector experts and will address the issues SMEs are facing such as a loss of income, forced closure, collapse of supply chains, redundancies, debts, and investment plans being put on hold.
There is also a Digital element to the programme, Digital Advantage will enable SMEs from across Northumberland to introduce digital tools into their day to day business activity. These tools include e-commerce websites and proactive digital marketing campaigns to expand and reach new customers and build digital capacity within the business base across the County. All the support is fully funded meaning that eligible businesses without a fully functioning e-commerce website can receive support to develop a site enabling them to sell their products directly to customers or service lead businesses will be able to benefit from a bespoke marketing campaign delivered for them on their behalf – all without any direct costs to the business.
While the Digital Advantage element will give small to medium enterprises within Northumberland the opportunity to introduce digital into their daily business routines. There is also provision to support businesses in the hospitality industry to create a bespoke mobile app for their business allowing them to adhere to government guidelines and take orders and payment with limited contact. The Mobile Apps will also have the functionality to feed directly into the Government Track and Trace system.