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Devon Elevation Fund launched to help businesses and local organisations

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****PLEASE NOTE – The recently launched Devon Elevation Fund has been an overwhelming success, being deluged by applications within hours of opening.

Due to the large number of applications for the fund, and to allow the team time to process those they have already received, the scheme has been paused and is not currently accepting new applications. If there is sufficient funding remaining once these initial applications have been processed, then the window for applications will re-open. ****

Small businesses and local communities in the county are being invited to apply to a new grant scheme launched by Devon County Council.

The Devon Elevation Fund (DEF) is funded through the UK Community Renewal Fund.

The scheme is offering grants of between £2,500 and £25,000 to projects that help businesses and community organisations to:

• Respond to the different trading environment resulting from COVID-19
• Plan for future growth and development
• Develop new products and services
• Improve infrastructure
• Assess the feasibility of future initiatives

It is open to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), including start-ups and social enterprises. Community organisations, including business/community groups, parish, town, and district/borough councils, can also apply.

The programme aims to encourage the creation of new businesses and new jobs while safeguarding existing jobs. Start-ups, particularly from disadvantaged and underrepresented groups, can also be supported.

The fund will encourage opportunities for innovation and growth through the development of new products and feasibility studies for future projects to deliver innovation and change.

Priority will be given to projects that support the county’s plans for recovery and growth; and will help level-up economic and social inequalities. This includes supporting community and business sectors hardest hit by the Coronavirus pandemic such as: tourism; hospitality; retail; food and drink.

The DEF will fund predominantly revenue projects and grants are limited to projects that can complete activities by the end of May 2022. One to one support will be on hand to help develop carbon reduction plans to support the Levelling-up and Net-zero agendas. Applicants will also receive help to overcome unforeseen problems, build confidence and ensure delivery of outcomes.

The project is being delivered locally by Devon County Council, North Devon +, Business Information Point and The Diverse Regeneration Company CIC. Devon County Council is also managing the UK Community Renewal Fund in Devon.

Councillor Rufus Gilbert, Cabinet Member for Economic Recovery and Skills, said:

“The Covid-19 pandemic has created extensive challenges for businesses, from changing markets and working arrangements to cashflow pressures. The Devon Elevation Fund will respond to this by supporting businesses and communities across Devon with potential to adapt, innovate, diversify, and improve productivity.

“A key focus of the programme is to support economic diversity as Devon looks to builds back better and the ambition of the scheme is to help even the smallest of businesses and communities across the county to bring about innovation and positive change.”

Applicants are encouraged to apply early as projects need to spend their funding allocation by May 2022.

To find out more about how to apply please visit the Devon Elevation Fund webpages.