Tag: Covid-19

COVID-19 Business Support

UPDATED 20.05.2020

We are regularly updating this page to keep you updated on the latest guidance and support relating to Covid-19.

There is a lot of information and support available, and if you need guidance on any aspect, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

One-To One support

For current clients, please get in touch if you are need advice or support. If you are not sure who your advisor is, you can email support@ad-venture.org.uk 

New clients, register at www.ad-venture.org.uk /register

Workshops and Events

AD:VENTURE events scheduled for the foreseeable will be delivered in a virtual way to enable us to continue delivering this valuable workshop content to you.

We are still keeping numbers limited and ensuring you have the opportunity to interact, so please check and book your places so you do not miss out.

The first webinars are now LIVE and can be booked via the events page

***NEW***

Working safely during COVID-19

The Government has produced ‘COVID-19 secure’ guidance to help ensure workplaces are as safe as possible. The new guidance covers eight workplace settings which are allowed to be open, from outdoor environments and construction sites to factories and takeaways.

WIDER NATIONAL AND REGIONAL SUPPORT AVAILABLE:

Regional Support:

For information and support, businesses in Leeds City Region concerned or affected by the impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) can contact the LEP Business Support Service by:

Completing our online enquiry form

Calling the LEP business support helpline on 0113 348 1818

Emailing BusinessSupport@the-lep.com

Due to a high volume of emails and phone calls, you may some experience delays getting through, but please be assured that they will respond to all enquires as soon as possible.

Regional support for businesses

Department for International Trade Webinars

The Department for International Trade are running a series of webinars to help businesses through coronavirus.

Logistics and movement of goods during COVID-19 – 20 May

Risk management when considering new markets – 21 May

Managing disruption of supply chains during COVID-19 – 22 May

For wider DIT Support https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-international-trade/about-our-services

LEP Business Support Service

Businesses can benefit from investment to purchase equipment, plant and machinery, digital equipment, develop new products and process, and save money on their energy bills through more efficient use of energy, water and waste. For more information, please contact the LEP Business Support Service or visit the-lep.com/support to learn about the support available.

Peer-to-peer support programme

In partnership with Biskit, the LEP is delivering a series of free weekly peer-to-peer online sessions, providing businesses across the City Region an opportunity to share ideas, raise issues, gain new insights and collaborate. Find out more and sign up.

COVID-19 Business Grant Programme

The LEP may be able to support your business if you are making capital investments to manufacture or supply products to the NHS and wider health supply chain. For more information, please contact the LEP Business Support Service.

Free one-to-one business coaching sessions

The LEP is working with business professionals to co-ordinate free coaching sessions to help SMEs formulate and implement contingency plans for this period and beyond. Coaches will work with companies to diagnose issues affecting them at the moment including people, suppliers and customers, finance and premises. Email us to access this support.

Supply chain support 

The University of Huddersfield has a team of supply chain experts who can help businesses to get more out of their supplier arrangements and enhance their positions within existing supply chains. This can include a deep dive analysis of current supply chains and supplier capacity, the introduction of new supply chain models to reduce risk and enhance quality, and the sourcing of more local suppliers. Email businesssupport@the-LEP.com for more information.

Business resilience programme

In partnership with Winning Pitch, we have launched the business resilience programme to support businesses owners through free one-to-one coaching and consultancy support and a series of webinars and leadership groups. Take our resilience test to help us to understand how we can best support you and your business. For more information about this programme, email businessresilience@winning-pitch.co.uk.

Digital Knowledge Exchange (DKE)

DKE has launched a new webinar series for businesses. The series is designed to support businesses striving to become best placed when the nation returns to business as usual. The webinars provide expert insights on the use of digital solutions to increase productivity and competitiveness during the lockdown. Topics cover customer engagement, business resilience, content marketing and digital marketing strategy. Find out more and sign up.

AD:VENTURE

Start-ups and young businesses in their first three years of trading can access online support. AD: VENTURE is delivering free webinars on marketing, sales, working remotely, social media and more, to help business owners to utilise their time at home to grow their business. View all webinars.

PAPI – Product and Process Innovation

PAPI helps small businesses in York, North Yorkshire, East Riding and Leeds City Region develop innovative new products by providing grants for equipment.

Visit https://www.papi.org.uk/

The Employment Hub

Whether you need to recruit quickly to keep up with the demands of COVID-19 or you have employees at risk of redundancy, the Employment Hub can help your business through free impartial support.

  • Quickly find new employees through the Employment Hub talent matching service. Tell us your recruitment needs and we will find and introduce you to candidates suitable for the role.
  • Access support for employees who are at risk of or facing redundancy. Refer staff to the Employment Hub where we can support them in finding alternative employment.

If you need help with either of these issues, please book a free introduction call with a business engagement officer who will discuss your needs and offer you a tailored package of support. Find out more and book a call today.

Skills Service

Access to online learning, and financial incentives to undertake training, via the further education (FE) colleges of the City Region and private providers. Find out more.

Investment Readiness: webinar programme

The LEP is delivering a series of six free webinars to help businesses to understand government support schemes and the range of investment options available to help with the impact of COVID-19.

The 90-minute webinars are practical and led by experts from Garbutt + Elliott and Grant Thornton. All sessions are live and include an opportunity for Q&A.

Webinars are delivered by Winning Pitch on behalf of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, Investment Readiness programme. Find out more and sign up.

Manufacturing Recovery Plan

Developed by the University of Huddersfield in collaboration with the LEP and key strategic partners, the scheme supports manufacturing SMEs across Leeds City Region to recover and build long-term resilience with a three-stage approach; stabilise, recover, growth. Find out more.

NATIONAL SUPPORT:

For all the latest up to date government guidance on Coronavirus support for businesses, please visit the hub on GOV.UK.

Not sure which financial support schemes you may be eligible for? Use the business support finder to find out.

*NEW* Coronavirus Bounce Back Loan Scheme – Applications are now being taken

The Bounce Back Loan scheme will help small and medium-sized businesses to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000.

The government will guarantee 100% of the loan and there won’t be any fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months.

Loan terms will be up to 6 years. No repayments will be due during the first 12 months. The government will work with lenders to agree a low rate of interest for the remaining period of the loan.

The scheme will be delivered through a network of accredited lenders.

Eligibility

You can apply for a loan if your business:

  • is based in the UK
  • has been negatively affected by coronavirus

Who cannot apply

The following businesses are not eligible to apply:

  • banks, insurers and reinsurers (but not insurance brokers)
  • public-sector bodies
  • state-funded primary and secondary schools

If you’re already claiming funding

You cannot apply if you’re already claiming under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).

If you’ve already received a loan of up to £50,000 under CBILS and would like to transfer it into the Bounce Back Loan scheme, you can arrange this with your lender until 4 November 2020.

How to apply

The full rules of the scheme and guidance on how to apply is available on the British Business Bank website.

NATIONAL FUNDING AND SUPPORT

Coronavirus (COVID-19) support is available to businesses

  • Loans, tax relief and cash grants are available
  • Employers can apply for staff to get up to 80% pay if they can’t work
  • Self-employed people can receive up to £2,500 per month in grants for at least 3 months

Funding and support

Self-employed people and sole traders

Your responsibilities as an employer

How to run your business safely

What businesses should be closed

All coronavirus business support information on GOV.UK

The Effect of COVID-19 on Commercial Contracts

We have seen in recent days that the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, Covid-19, is bringing uncertainty to many businesses. The unprecedented restrictions in travel across the world and the cancellation of many public events is impacting upon many supply chains. In turn, we have seen large numbers of businesses begin to operate flexibly by developing alternative means of work, and a smaller percentage suspending operations altogether.

At this time, many businesses are rightly considering the contractual and legal issues arising from this extraordinary situation.

Understanding your contractual position

Generally, the parties are required to perform their obligations set out in a contract in full by any deadline specified.  This applies to performance of all contractual obligations, including payments due. However, there are two common exceptions to this rule:

  • Force Majeure – A number of written contracts will include a force majeure clause. A force majeure clause will usually suspend or end performance obligations where a party is prevented from performing its contractual obligations due to events outside of its control. However, even when they exist within a contract, the wording and protective scope of force majeure clauses can differ. As a result, it is necessary to consider the wording of the specific clause to determine (i) whether Covid-19 amounts to a force majeure event under a particular contract; (ii) the impact of the clause; and (iii) whether any other conditions need to be satisfied, such as notice requirements.
  • Frustration – Even where no force majeure clause exists, the legal doctrine of frustration may be available in situations where a change in circumstances makes it physically or commercially impossible to perform the contract, or would render performance radically different. The bar for relying upon frustration is high, and, similar to relying on a force majeure clause, a party seeking to rely on such may be open to legal challenge by a counterparty to a contract.

Although most businesses who are currently concerned about their contracts will want to consider the above two points, it is advisable that businesses seeking to rely on such obtain legal advice before purporting to rely on either the contractual relief of a force majeure clause or the legal doctrine of frustration.

Varying existing agreements to improve probability of performance, maintain relationships and bring certainty

At this time, we are seeing an increase in companies approach us with concerns over their ability to discharge their duties under their contracts, as well as being concerned about the ability of others to perform theirs. Even where strict legal rights exist, it is not always commercially astute to enforce them and there are situations where it is prudent to seek to relax performance requirements, in order to maintain relationships, aid cash flow and prevent the need for crippling legal action.

In relation to this, we are advising businesses to:

  • Understand your strict legal position, to determine whether you are negotiating from a position of strength or weakness.
  • Not verbally or informally change terms in your contracts (particularly in relation to material or major contracts). Rather, we recommend that you formally record any variations that you may agree in writing (it may even be a requirement in your contracts that such variations are in writing as agreed between the parties).
  • Carefully consider the practical impacts that any variations will have. The choices you make as a business will reflect the commercial constraints which are unique to you, such as the importance to you of cash flow, your ability to make internal decisions and reputation management. These elements differ from business to business and there is not a one size fits all approach that should be taken.

The options available to you very much depend on what the terms of your contracts state, and it is important that any variations that you make are made only when you fully understand the impact of such on your contracts as a whole.

Most businesses will want to consider what their obligations are and whether they can still practically achieve them. Customers experiencing cash flow issues themselves will probably want to look at alternative payment options. When dealing with customer concerns, businesses may be able to agree to split payment into a number of instalments over a set period of time to ease cash flow for the customer, but to ensure payment in full is received in time by the recipient business.

Such steps can assist from a reputation point of view in these hard times. For businesses that are able to weather the storm that Covid-19 now presents, they want to ensure that they come out with a loyal customer and supplier base to continue trade in the future.

Continued use of standard contractual documents

Covid-19 has caught society and many businesses by surprise. Business continuity is now being tested across many sectors in the UK, and in turn businesses will shortly discover the robustness of their legal documentation.

Many businesses in the UK trade on standard terms of business – in most cases, it is prudent to do so. In the current climate it is advisable to consider whether any amendments should be made to your standard contractual documentation to provide protection to your business in the coming weeks, months and beyond in relation to Covid-19 and any similar pandemics that may arise in the future. For example, many force majeure clauses reference unforeseeable events. It could be argued that, for contracts entered into six months ago, Covid-19 may satisfy this definition, but it is unlikely to do so in relation to contracts being entered into in the coming weeks.

The content of this advice article has been kindly provided to AD:VENTURE by Sarah Briscall and Joe Gosling, members of the Commercial Team at Shulmans LLP

Shulmans LLP will become Knights plc on 24 April 2020

Photo by Startup Stock Photos from Pexels