More than 1,000 Gloucestershire businesses have expressed an interest in applying for a Covid recovery grant, but the majority will be left empty handed.

The government's SME recovery grant scheme has been designed to give small and medium sized businesses access to new technology and other equipment as they adapt to new circumstances. However, only 15 per cent of Gloucestershire applicants are expected to be successful.

The grant money is being provided from the England European Regional Development Fund and distributed through business support service Gloucestershire Growth Hub.

Gloucestershire has been allocated just under £465,000 and there will be an estimated grant size of £3000 per business.

Explaining the rationale behind the decision to award £3000 grants, Alex Cottrell, Growth Hub manager, said “Currently we have over 1,000 businesses that have registered an interest in the grants.

"This is totally understandable given the current circumstances and the pressures that business continue to face. This does present us with a key challenge as we know that the funding that we have been allocated is likely to support about 150 businesses.

"We have to distribute the available monies in a way which reaches as many businesses as possible whilst providing enough financial assistance to make a real difference to their recovery options. We also want to ensure that the allocation of funds is shared equally throughout the county.”

The Growth Hub is estimating the approval of up to 150 grants, representing a success rate of 15 per cent of the 1,000 businesses who have registered an initial interest.

Alex added: “As we start to release further detail around some of the grant eligibility criteria, we may see the actual number of applications reduce. But taking a steer from what has happened across other Growth Hub areas we don’t expect this to be the case.”

Ministries for Housing, Communities and Local Government and (MHCLG) have outlined the criteria for business who may apply, with the key criteria listed below, and a full list of available on the Growth Hub website at

• Businesses must be based in Gloucestershire.

• Business must be fall under the SME definition – less than 250 employees and less than 50m turnover.

• Business must have started trading before 1st March 2020.

• Business must be able to demonstrate the impact of Covid-19.

• Business must show how the grant allocation will support recovery plans.

Eligible grant applications will include activities including:

• Purchase of specialist consultancy/advice.

• Purchase of minor equipment that supports the adoption of new technology/business processes in order to continue to deliver or diversify business activity in response to COVID-19.

• Purchase of minor equipment that supports the adaptation of existing technology/business processes in order to continue to deliver or diversify business activity in response to COVID-19.

Alex said: “Now that the grant has been approved, we are putting in place the systems to open and administer the applications. As such, we hope to open invitations for the grants at the end of September.

"All successful applicants will then be notified and instructed to go ahead and purchase the planned support activity. Once the applicant has paid for the support and provided required evidence of this, the grants will be released.

"The whole process has to be complete by the end of March 2021 so we are doing everything we can to make the programme as simple to use and efficient as possible.”