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What support is available for Start-ups?

According to the guidelines laid down by the Treasury, many Start-up businesses will not be considered “viable” as they are at an early stage in the investment cycle (i.e. delivering negative returns but with strong growth prospects). This means they are unlikely to qualify for CBILS although for primarily UK based Start-ups it is still worth making enquiries as policies are rapidly evolving.

For early-stage businesses in their first two years of trading, the British Business Bank’s Start-Up Loans programme (loans £500 to £25,000 at 6% p.a. interest) may be more suitable. Visit www.startuploans.co.uk for more information.

For start-up businesses that are unable to access CBILS, the Government launched The Future Fund in May 2020 via the British Business Bank, which provides convertible loans to UK-based innovative companies ranging from £125,000 to £5 million, subject to at least equal match funding from private investors. This scheme is available until 30 September 2020 initially.

Your business is eligible if:

  • it is UK-incorporated – if your business is part of a corporate group, only the parent company is eligible
  • it has raised at least £250,000 in equity investment from third-party investors in the last five years
  • none of its shares are traded on a regulated market, multilateral trading facility or other listing venue
  • it was incorporated on or before 31 December 2019, and
  • at least one of the following is true: (i) half or more employees are UK-based; and/or (ii) half or more revenues are from UK sales.

Further information is available on the Government website, www.gov.uk/guidance/future-fund

The Government is also offering additional support for small and medium size firms that are primarily focused on research and development. This targeted support is available through a continuity grant and loan scheme. The grant scheme is only available until 29 May 2020 while the loan scheme is open for applications until all the money is allocated or 31 December 2020 (whichever is earlier). This scheme is administered by Innovate UK, the national innovation agency, and this support will mostly only be available to existing Innovate UK customers.
Further information is available on the on the Government website, www.gov.uk/government/publications/access-coronovirus-business-innovation-support-package

Related FAQs

Introduction to alternatives to redundancy

We hope that all organisations will come out of lockdown successfully. However, the current economic crisis means that many organisations will face very difficult trading conditions.

Employment costs are one of, if not the, largest cost to your organisation. These costs will have an effect on your financial well-being – and many organisations are now considering how to reduce employment costs. That said, your workforce is also your most important asset and as we get back to business, you will need your workforce to run the organisation, produce your goods, deliver your services and deal with your customers.

As a result, many organisations are facing a very difficult situation – how to reduce or flex the cost of the workforce whilst also maintaining an ability to service customers. This difficulty is enhanced by the uncertainty of when the pandemic will be controlled and the threat of lockdowns end.

What security will be required for CBILS?

At the discretion of the lender, the Scheme may be used for unsecured lending for facilities of £250,000 and under.

Lenders were required to demonstrate lending additionality (i.e. lending that without the Scheme, wouldn’t have otherwise taken place). The Scheme has been extended to those businesses who would have previously met requirements for a commercial facility and would not have been eligible for CBILS.  As a result  it is suggested that all viable small businesses affected by Covid-19, and not just those unable to secure regular commercial financing, will now be eligible should they need finance to keep operating.

Primary Residential Property cannot be taken as Security under the Scheme. If the lender can offer finance on normal commercial terms without the need to make use of the Scheme, they will do so.

Will I need to make an application to the court for a remote hearing?

Despite remote hearings being the default position at present, formal permission will still be required by the court and a template order was circulated with the guidance. This template sets out the relevant directions and recitals to include in your order. An application to the COP for a remote hearing will not be required.

Due to the lockdown and government guidelines, my partner and I have moved in to the house I own. Is there anything I need to be worried about?

Where a couple is not married, they have limited rights in relation to each other’s assets and these mainly relate to rights over property assets. There is complex Trust law which governs whether or not your partner could claim an interest in your property and it generally relates to where someone has invested in renovations on the property or promises have been made. If this is something you are concerned about, you and your partner could enter in to a Cohabitation Agreement. These Agreements can set out various matters, including who will pay the bills and where each of you would live if you separated. Most importantly, they can record your intentions about who owns the property and exclude any rights your partner would have against your property.

If you have to undertake collective consultation do you also have to carry out individual consultation?

Once the collective process concludes, an employer can make the decision to proceed with the restructure. They will then have 1-on-1 meetings with employees about the impact of the restructure on them. This will include consideration of alternative employment. There is no need to consult further about the proposal, merely the effect of the restructure on the individual.