Business Adaptation Grants Help Essex Businesses Diversify Online
Award-winning pet photographer, Maria Michael of Detheo Photography in Bishops Stortford, has devoted the past decade to learning the psychology and behavior of dogs and horses IMAGE: Detheo Photography
Submitted by Melanie Willis
West Essex businesses have been able to branch out online and keep their businesses alive during the pandemic thanks to grants from the council.
Essex County Council (ECC) offers Business Adaptation Grants and early support with the Uttlesford District Council application process.
Detheo Photography, Ashton House Media and the Saffron Walden Gallery all received grants from the Uttlesford District Council to purchase equipment during the recent nationwide lockdown, allowing them to offer online services to a wider global audience.
Bill Tickner, owner of the Saffron Walden Gallery, said the grant process was âvery straightforwardâ. He applied through Uttlesford District Council and received funds within days to purchase a laptop and fund an online advertising campaign.
He said: âThis positive support when we need it most and without delay is something I am truly grateful for. Being unable to open the gallery, it was imperative that I try to grow the online business during the lockdown to facilitate sales while the gallery was closed. “
He added, âAs a business that has relied almost exclusively on visitor sales in the past, the transition to diversify the business has been challenging, but also rewarding. Subsidies have been essential to the survival of our business and I am sure that is the case for all small and medium businesses. “
Richard Haywood, owner of Ashton House Media in Stansted, said he was surprised at the simplicity of the application process.
He was “very effective” in his experience, with funding received within two weeks.
He said, âAs a training provider, I used the grant to purchase new audio equipment to produce podcasts, host webinars, and pay for a Zoom Business account subscription to deliver online training courses.
âI now work with clients abroad, so it has improved and broadened my business offering. I encourage other companies to apply as any additional help is a godsend in these tough times and can really help your business move forward. “
Award-winning specialist pet photographer, Maria Michael of Detheo Photography in Bishops Stortford, has devoted the past 10 years to learning the psychology and behavior of dogs and horses. She used the grant to purchase new camera equipment to expand into virtual online training. âFunding from the ECC Business Adaptation Grant means that I can now offer my knowledge in the form of virtual learning to a wider global audience,â she said. âThe webinars that I organize are in collaboration with photographic associations and camera manufacturers and are watched by audiences all over the world. They emphasize the importance of animal welfare when taking pictures.
ECC worked closely with local councils in Essex to streamline the application and approval process. Companies can apply, through their local council, for an ECC Business Adjustment Grant of up to Â£ 1,500 until July 2021. This can help cover the costs of making the adjustments. , improving commercial offers, complying with improved commercial rules or purchasing additional equipment for staff and customers.
Businesses should apply directly through their local council for the ECC Business Adaptation Grant and to inquire about other grants available.
Advice on other grant programs in Essex is available from the BEST Growth Hub. Telephone 0300 303 4864.