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Grants and External Funding

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Open 4 Business Portal

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To support our businesses during the current COVID-19 crisis, and into the recovery phase, Carlisle City Council is providing free access to Open 4 Business. Open4Business is designed to support businesses locate relevant up to date funding opportunities.

The portal is updated regularly with new local, regional and national funding announcements and can be easily searched by businesses on the basis of their industry, region and business size. The portal then provides information on how to apply for funding and contact funders directly. To search for grants for your business you will first need to register on the Open4Business website


Grants and Funding News

IUK Announces Second Business Basics Fund - Three New SME Productivity Competitions

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The Business Basics Fund is funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and administered by Innovate UK (IUK) on behalf of BEIS, in partnership with the Innovation Growth Lab at Nesta.

The overarching Fund supports a range of projects that test innovative ways of encouraging small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to take up productivity-boosting ways of working and technology. Through this second version of the programme, IUK is funding two types of project: trials and proof of concepts.

Trial projects will test different approaches to encouraging SMEs to adopt existing technologies and/or management practices that can boost firm level productivity. Proof of concept projects cover ideas that are in early development.

Proposals must relate to the actions SMEs can take to become more productive by:

  • adopting tried-and tested technologies, accountancy, CRM or HR software or payment systems;

  • adopting modern business practices;

  • improving their use of such tried and tested technologies and management practices already active within the business; or

  • or a combination of the above.

A share of up to £2 million is available across the trial and proof of concept projects. Individual levels of support for each project vary according to the competition strand:

Business Led Trials/Non-business Led Trials: Applicants can apply for a total of up to £400,000 grant funding for a trial project in these competitions.

Proof of Concept: Applicants may apply for up to £60,000 in grant funding to run a proof of concept project.

For the Business Led Trials Competition, the lead applicant must be a UK based business of any size. They can work alone, or in collaboration with other organisations. For the Non-business Led Trials Competition, the applicant must be a UK-based public sector organisation, university or research and technology organisation (RTO), or not for profit company. For the Proof of Concept Competition, the applicant must be a UK-based public sector organisation, university or research and technology organisation (RTO), charity, not-for-profit company or business of any size.

All three competitions will open to applications on 28 January 2019 with a deadline for the receipt of applications of 17 April 2019.

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