Businesses across County Cork have been seeking support in record numbers as some returned to trading as part of phase two of the Government’s roadmap to reopening society and business began on Monday.
A total of 1,300 businesses have made an online application for the Restart Grant, a form of direct grant aid offered to small businesses in order to help them with the costs associated with reopening.
Between €2,000 and €10,000 of direct aid is available to businesses, based on their commercial rates bill from last year.
The grant will be available to businesses with a turnover of less than €5m and employing 50 people or less, which were closed or impacted by at least a 25% reduction in turnover due to Covid-19.
Meanwhile, a total of 750 companies applied for Business Continuity Vouchers through the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) in South Cork and Cork North and West.
Businesses employing up to 50 staff are eligible to apply for a Business Continuity Voucher to the value of €2,500 towards third party consultancy costs to assist with developing short-term and long-term strategies to deal with the effects of Covid-19.
An unprecedented demand of over 300 applications for Trading Online Vouchers, which help businesses establish an online marketplace was also reported.
Both LEO South Cork and LEO Cork North and West will host a series of webinars in the weeks ahead, covering topics of relevance to businesses affected by the pandemic including new health and safety requirements to ensure businesses can reopen safely, and stay open.
Director of Service Economic Development, Enterprise and Tourism, Sharon Corcoran, said that Cork City Council has been supporting businesses that have been “severely impacted by Covid-19” and that have “suffered greatly” as a result through direct activity in towns and financial support through the LEOs.
“What we have witnessed is a huge demand from small businesses to get going again, and to reinvent themselves to reflect the new trading environment. Thanks to this new energy from the business community, the Local Enterprise Office has never been busier.
“Many applications have been approved, and we are working diligently through the others as quickly as possible. Small businesses are the engine of our entire economy. Our message to them is that we are here to support them now, and well into the future,” she said.