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Urgent funds are being made available to cultural and physical activity-based organisations and small businesses in Coventry to help them through the COVID-19 crisis.
The impact of COVID-19 on micro and small businesses as well as freelancers has been immediate, including those in the sports and culture sectors.
To ensure these businesses can access essential cash flow now, Coventry City Council is pledging to support them through Crowdfunder’s Pay it Forward campaign.
Crowdfunder and Enterprise Nation have set up Pay it Forward to enable the self-employed, micro and small businesses to keep trading by pre-selling their goods or services and giving incentives to customers to buy now, ensuring a continuous cash flow and enabling them to stay connected to their customers.
Those eligible for the funding will be self-employed or a micro or small business in Coventry that have been trading for at least one year.
The match-funded grant requires the businesses selected after application to continue to pre-sell their goods or services and reach a project target. Once reached, funds of up to £1,000 will be released.
Councillor Tariq Khan, Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities, said: “What a fantastic thing this is for the small businesses in our city. This is such a difficult time for everyone, so I’m extremely happy to see that those in need in the sport and cultural industries are going to receive some help.
“The Match-funding aspect of this grant is a brilliant incentive to get the local community involved in supporting small businesses in the city during this crisis.
“It’s times like this where we all have to pull together and recognise who needs help the most and provide them with that extra layer of support which really enhances the sense of community in Coventry.
“It’s really important we do our best to help sport and cultural businesses so the legacy of last year’s European City of Sport title continues to progress, along with preparing others ahead of our year as City of Culture 2021. I’m looking forward to seeing how the match-funded project with Crowdfunder makes a difference so we can pursue projects like this further in the future.”
In one week, the Pay it Forward campaign has raised £380,000 by 320 businesses through donations from 9,000 people.
Rob Love, CEO of Crowdfunder, said: “Businesses are telling us they need to keep trading or they will go bust. That’s why we’ve set up Pay it Forward - micro and small businesses as well as the self-employed can pre-sell goods and services and incentivise customers to buy now.
“It enables them to maintain cash flow and stay connected to their customer base which is vital if they are to bounce back quickly once this is all over. We’re delighted to be working with Coventry City Council, supporting business owners to survive these challenging weeks.
“We are ready and able to work with any LEP or local authority that is able to do the same.”
Emma Jones, founder of small business support network, Enterprise Nation, said: “This is pulling together like nothing else. By using the Pay it Forward initiative, local authorities like Coventry can add another level of security and speed to their fiscal support for important, local ventures that would otherwise be under threat.
“By doing this they are safeguarding their own communities and retaining important services that people will be able to go back to once this crisis is over.
“Not all businesses will be able to withstand taking on extra debt via the CBILS, but with local authorities match-funding customer support, this could be a compelling solution.”
Further information on how the match-funding works and how to get involved, can be found on the Crowdfunder website.