DUP MLA Maurice Bradley has welcomed Economy Minister Diane Dodd’s announcement of a £40 million Hardship Fund being made available to micro businesses who cannot avail of the existing support schemes during the Covid-19 lockdown.
Bradley described the funding as a ‘welcome boost’ for smaller businesses. A micro business is the term used for a business which has less than 10 employees.
“I have been contacted by several small businesses who have found difficulty accessing the normal funding streams currently available,” said the Coleraine based MLA.
“These are difficult times for any business large or small, we want our economy to bounce back as quickly as possible after this, so any help to businesses must be welcomed.”
With an estimated 8,000 businesses across Northern Ireland eligible for the fund, Minister Dodds explained: “Social enterprises and charities will be able to access the fund if they meet the eligibility criteria.
Minister Dodds said: “Details on the scheme, including eligibility criteria and arrangements for applying, will be released next week. This fund should mean that around a third of all businesses in Northern Ireland will now be able to access support under the Northern Ireland Covid-19 grant schemes.”