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Small and medium sized Kent businesses supported in moving to green

Kent County Council (KCC) has launched a new voucher scheme to enable local businesses to implement green solutions to help with future growth.

The Green Recovery Voucher Scheme is part of the C-Care (Covid Channel Area Response Exchange) project which is funded by the EU Interreg France (Channel) England programme.

C-Care represents a total of €6.7million package of covid-recovery support from the European Regional Development Fund. The overall project aims to support businesses and individuals at risk of exclusion on both sides of the Channel. In Kent the focus is on business support and this new scheme is being launched as a method to help businesses bounce back and become more resilient.

The Green Recovery Voucher Scheme can help firms build back from the pandemic in a way which is sustainable for the environment. They can redeem a voucher worth up to £1,500 for green goods and services in the following areas:

  • Design, supply and installation of energy efficiency measures.
  • Review, development and supply of waste reduction interventions.
  • Review, development and supply of sustainable transport solutions.
  • Design, supply and installation of biodiversity solutions.
  • ‘Net Zero’ transition planning.

Services will be provided to Kent businesses by a framework of approved green service providers which is also benefiting a number of firms across the county.

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The scheme is targeted at Kent businesses which have been impacted by the pandemic and which can demonstrate how adopting new green solutions will help them recover and grow in a more sustainable and economical way.

KCC’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Susan Carey, said: “Part of Kent’s identity is our strong network of small and medium enterprises.

“The Green Recovery Voucher Scheme is key to supporting firms to build back from the pandemic in a way which is sustainable for the environment.

“This is a fantastic initiative to look into at a time when profit margins are being squeezed and I would encourage business owners to see how this could help them.”

The voucher scheme is now live and will run until March 2023, or until the voucher budget has been fully allocated. Certain eligibility criteria apply, and companies can obtain more information by visiting https://www.kent.gov.uk/business/business-loans-and-funding/green-recovery-vouchers where they can apply and request an initial consultation with an advisor.

The Green Recovery Voucher scheme is being run by the Sustainable Business & Communities Team at Kent County Council, alongside a suite of other sustainable grant programmes available to SMEs (small and medium enterprises) within Kent. For further information on the teams’ projects, visit the Low Carbon Kent website: https://lowcarbonkent.com/

By Ellis Stephenson

Source: KCC Media Hub

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UK ranks second for business startup financing

UK startups raised more cash in early 2022 than counterparts in China, France or India, and were surpassed only by the US, data showed.

The figures from data provider Dealroom were published alongside the UK government’s new digital strategy on the first day of London Tech Week.

UK startups raised a record $11.3 billion in venture capital in the first three months of the year, according to Dealroom.

And they raised $15.6bn in the five months to the end of May, half of which was from the technology sector.

This performance was dwarfed by $123.4bn in the US, but beat $11.8bn in China and $14.8bn in India.

“So far this year, the UK has raised more venture capital than any other country in the world apart from the United States, overtaking both India and China compared to full year 2021 rankings,” Dealroom said in a statement.

The performance marked a “record quarter” for the industry, despite a “turbulent start to the year for global markets” following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to Dealroom.

The data provider added that Britain currently has 122 “unicorn” businesses — technology firms that are worth more than $1bn.

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Technology minister Chris Philp, unveiling the government’s new digital strategy at London Tech Week, said its goal was cement Britain’s place as a “global tech superpower”.

“In the last five years the UK has raced ahead of Europe to become a global tech leader and now we’re setting the course for the future,” Philp said in a speech at the industry event.

“The digital strategy is the roadmap we will follow to strengthen our global position as a science and technology superpower.”

(AFP)

Source: gg2

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A third of SMEs were denied access to finance last year

A third of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) who sought access to finance were rejected last year.

Smart payments platform Yolt has found that SMEs lost an estimated £3.7bn in potential funding over the course of 2021.

The average SME sought to borrow £331,275 in financing to help grow their business, however, on average, small businesses only managed to borrow approximately £50,000 less than this.

Leaders of small businesses which were denied funding cited the age of their business (31 per cent), the levels of existing business debt (22 per cent) and the lack of sufficient collateral (20 per cent) as factors in the decision.

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Medium-sized businesses (50-250 employees) were the most likely to be refused for funding (56 per cent).

Even among the successful candidates, only one in five SMEs described the process of borrowing as easy, and less than 10 per cent felt the process was low effort or made effective use of technology.

Small business leaders said that they are very open to using technology to refine the borrowing process, with two-thirds (66 per cent) willing to securely share their bank account data to improve their chances of borrowing money.

This follows previous Yolt research which found that the sharing of data via open banking technology could significantly increase approvals and reduce the processing time of SME borrowing by 85 per cent, benefitting both the lender and recipient.

“SMEs represent the foundation for a thriving economy, in the UK they represent 99 per cent of all private sector businesses; as such, it’s important we nurture SME growth,” said Nicolas Weng Kan, chief executive at Yolt.

“Traditional borrowing, limited as it is, can make access to finance difficult. This can impede growth and make it hard for small businesses to achieve their true potential.

“We can see a clear desire from small business leaders in our research to use the power of their data and insight to allow for more accurate decisioning when it comes to borrowing money; open banking is the solution to this.

“By employing open banking technology, lenders can get a clearer picture of a business’ behaviours and can then provide financing with far more confidence: it’s not about taking on extra risk but accessing a great level of insight.

“This technology also makes the application process quicker and automated, allowing for efficiencies on both sides.”

By Michael Lloyd

Source: p2p Finance News