The grants for local businesses will help address Covid-19 challenges

7 October 2020

3 min read

Ten small and medium-sized businesses based in the Solent region have been awarded a £1,600 grant to help respond to the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Santander Covid 19 Small Business Grant is provided by Santander Universities and managed by the University of Portsmouth’s Business School.  The University of Portsmouth is a partner of Santander Universities, a national network of more than 80 UK Universities, which provides financial and other forms of assistance in research, entrepreneurship, internationalisation and employability for students, staff and business.

The fund will allow the 10 businesses, charities and third sector organisations (with fewer than 250 employees) to purchase additional goods or services, provide staff with equipment or training, or strengthen their marketing capabilities - whatever would most benefit the business. The funding is not for rent or direct employee costs.

The ten recipients of the Santander Covid 19 Small Business Grant are – 

  • Matthew Jeffery - Brightbulb Designs
  • Steve McCulley - LIOS Bikes
  • Karen Vaughan - The Elizabeth Foundation
  • Anne-Marie Asgari - Toucan Diversity Training
  • Hayden Taylor - Unloc
  • Craig McHugh - Living Your Learning
  • Eleanor Cameron - EBP South Ltd
  • Kris Brasted - INCA Design Ltd
  • Sue Wassall - The Knights Chamber
  • Steve Edmonds - TVMI

Sue Wassall, was one of the recipients of the grant. She said: "I am so thrilled to have won the Santander grant; it will enable us to improve some processes so we can increase our capacity while continuing to work safely for the benefit of both existing and new clients and our team.”

Covid-19 has adversely affected many organisations; this grant offers an opportunity for them to apply for funding to help with initiatives to support their successful transition out of lockdown.

Pat Smith, Small Business Manager

Pat Smith, Small Business Manager at Portsmouth Business School, said: “I was overwhelmed by the number and quality of responses that we received. It has highlighted the impact Covid-19 has had on our business community and I know how much it means to each of the winners to receive this much-needed income. It has provided me with an insight as to the needs and difficulties facing business owners, something I hope to be able to offer some support with through various projects led by the Business School in the coming months.”

Matt Hutnell, Director of Santander Universities UK, said: “Santander is committed to supporting higher education as well as local communities across the UK so we’re pleased that our funding is able to be redirected to where it is most needed at this critical time. Universities, such as Portsmouth, are doing some fantastic work to contribute to the UK’s effort to combat the outbreak of COVID-19, so we’re delighted to collaborate with our university partners in a way which increases their response effort and look forward to continuing to work with them on supporting both students and the broader higher education community with further initiatives over the coming months.”

The University of Portsmouth Business School received over 100 applications from small businesses based in the Solent Region, who had to detail what the grant would go towards and describe the impact that this would have on their business.

Each of the businesses have agreed to keep in contact with Pat giving updates as to how the money has been used and what the impact has been on their business, sharing positive stories and offering inspiration to others who are facing similar issues.

Pat, who managed the project on behalf of the Santander Universities partnership with University of Portsmouth, said: “Just receiving the good news has been a big boost for all ten winners, knowing that an independent panel of business experts judged their entry as a worthy recipient, meant almost as much as winning.”