This proposes a new programme of business enterprise funding to support entrepreneurs and growth businesses within the borough of Boston as part of the Council’s vision for prosperity, growth and opportunity.
Currently, there are over 2200 VAT/PAYE registered enterprises in the Borough of Boston with 85% of those in the micro definition of Small Medium sized Enterprises (SME).
The Council Plan 2016/17 – 2019/20 supports the need for a strong economy, enabling it to grow and generate better job opportunities. This programme of support, funded through the Business Rate Retention Pilot will help respond and rise to these challenges by increasing the number of startups, nurturing young businesses to grow and encourage greater investment and innovation.
The Council will be the accountable body for the business enterprise funding and will be administered through a ‘check and balance’ business panel made up 5 seats of prominent business oriented organisations and business leaders across the borough, such as a Bank, a Solicitor, an Accountant, a local entrepreneur and the FSB.
The ‘check and balance’ panel will have the autonomy to administer funds using their professional opinion to provide robust challenge and scrutiny of business plans, appraisal of suitable and credible business ability and apply due diligence to avoid any exposure to potential risk, financial or reputation to Boston Borough Council.
To develop a stronger economy by attracting investment and business to the borough and the increasing the opportunity to create entrepreneurs the enterprise funding will support economic participation across two themes, i.e. Enable Fund and Nurture Fund.
The Enable Fund
The Enable Fund programme will focus on assisting people whether in employment or not to start a business within the administrative boundary of Boston Borough Council.
Grants up to £1000 will be offered recognising the difficulty in accessing start up investment, matched with 20% of their own funds.
Successful applicants will be encouraged to engage with Business Lincolnshire Growth Hub advisers to support the business in its early stages.
The Nurture Fund
To help achieve sustainable growth and enable a strong economy for the borough the Nurture Fund will support young businesses that have less than 36 months trading and who are located within the administrative boundary of Boston Borough Council to make the next transition in their development.
Grants of up to £5000, matched with 25% of their own funds will be offered to those businesses with credible businesses plans in place and are at the planning stage of considering developments that will increase productivity and growth of the business.
Businesses that can demonstrate how the funding will make a measurable impact on business growth and productivity will be recommended for approval.
Delivering this type of grant funding does carry some risks over and above the impact of financial or reputation damage to Boston Borough Council.
A form of ‘Terms of Reference’ will be devised to safeguard and advise the panel on compliance including conflicts of interest etc.
Offering a programme of business support that will create a stronger economy, enabling it to grow and generate better job opportunities delivers a clear statement of intent that the Council, supports entrepreneurs to create businesses, encourage businesses to innovate and strengthen local job opportunities and promote inward investment.
The programme also supports key themes set out in the Economic Plan including-
- To promote and support inward investment into the borough
- To support business development and growth of new and existing businesses
- To support employability skills initiatives
- To foster start ups and nurture entrepreneurs, and
- To encourage green innovation and infrastructure