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Revi-VE – South East Visitor Economy Fund

About the Programme

The Revi-VE 100% grant fund is part of a wider package of support, funded by the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP), to help deliver long-term resilience and adaptation to a post-COVID world for the visitor economy in East Sussex, Essex, Kent, Medway, Southend and Thurrock.

The grants (£1,000 – £3,000) will inject small visitor economy businesses with the financial investment they need to respond to the changed market conditions. The funding will focus on driving innovation and helping businesses to adapt their operations or business model to new trends and consumer behaviours.

Applications are now closed

Applications will be open from 09.00 on 15th July 2021 to 23.59 on 18th July 2021. If certain funding allocations are not met from the initial applications, then the form may reopen for a second application window to businesses that meet specific criteria.

We anticipate that demand for these grants will be much higher than the total number available. Before starting your application, please check the details below to ensure that this fund is the right fit for your business. Information about other funding and support available for visitor economy businesses to explore is also signposted below.

Who is it for?

This fund is targeted at hard-hit businesses within the visitor economy that need support to make adaptations to their business model or operations in response to COVID-19.

  • Micro, small or medium enterprises in the SELEP region.
  • Businesses operating primarily within the visitor economy including tourism, culture, leisure, events or hospitality. This includes groups of businesses who missed out on previous government grants such as event organisers, tour operators, key supply chains and businesses without premises.
  • Viable businesses that have been heavily impacted by COVID-19 with innovative ideas that will help to protect jobs in the visitor economy.
  • Businesses with project ideas that will help transition into the recovery phase and build resilience through innovative solutions and business adaptations.
  • Please note that as the focus is on innovation, expenditure should not be for business-as-usual costs or associated with implementing legally required social distancing or hygiene measures.

Full eligibility criteria are set out under Who can apply?

How much funding is available?

The programme will provide funding of between £1,000 – £3,000 per project (1 per business) for a minimum of 150 businesses across the SELEP region.

The grants will cover 100% of the costs and no match funding is required.

Total project costs can be higher than £3,000 but they should not exceed £6,000. However, you will need to demonstrate that you have the funding for the additional costs in place.

This funding cannot be used to match fund other funding streams. This is to help target funding towards businesses that may not have had access to other support.

What can it be spent on?

The grants should be for expenditure that is essential for the business to adapt or diversify its visitor economy offering or help it to reach new visitor markets. This could include changes to operations in order to continue to operate in some capacity during restrictions, adaptations to increase capacity or improve consumer confidence. It could also help businesses to develop a new product or service which capitalises on changing consumer behaviour or emerging trends to generate a new revenue stream.

The expenditure should not be for business-as-usual costs or associated with implementing legally required social distancing or hygiene measures and must be necessary for the innovation or diversification. If you need support with everyday costs due to the impact of COVID-19, you may be eligible for an Additional Restrictions Grant via your District Council or Unitary Authority.

If you are a business that began trading after 31st March 2020, you may be able to access funding through the Starting and Succeeding in Business COVID-19 Recovery Fund.

In order to compliment other programmes that focus on business support, this fund is focused on the purchasing of tools, equipment, software (12-month licence if purchased as a subscription) and trading approaches needed to implement business innovations that are necessary to adapt to the current climate and changing behaviours.

This excludes the purchasing of laptops. If you need funding to help with purchasing laptops for remote working or the adoption of new technology, you may be able to access funding through the Adapting with Digital COVID-19 Recovery Fund.

Examples of the types of projects that would be considered for this funding include:

  • Online booking software
  • Equipment or investment needed to deliver a new visitor experience which responds to a new trend
  • Investment in outdoor spaces to increase capacity or offer all-weather areas
  • Technology for contactless check-in
  • Equipment to deliver hybrid events
  • Creation of virtual tours or venue show-rounds

Who can apply?

Businesses must demonstrate through their application that they meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Be located in either East Sussex, Essex, Kent, Medway, Southend or Thurrock.
  • Qualify as a micro (less than 10 full time equivalent staff), small (less than 50 full time equivalent staff) or medium (less than 250 full time equivalent staff) business as per the
  • Be an existing business which began trading prior to 31st March 2020. Social Enterprises, Community Interest Companies and charities engaged in economic activity are also eligible. Public sector organisations are not eligible for this funding.
  • Be operating within the visitor economy, with a primary function in one of the following sectors: tourism, culture, leisure, events or hospitality.
  • Must fall within one of the eligible SIC code categories which includes crucial supply chains, tourism distributors and businesses without premises who may have missed out on previous COVID-19 grant support.
  • Demonstrate that they are a viable business that has been destabilised by COVID-19.
  • Clearly explain how this funding will increase their resilience in the visitor market by supporting the business to adapt or innovate in response to COVID-19.
  • Demonstrate that this intervention will contribute to protecting jobs (must be roles directly employed by the applicant).
  • Demonstrate that they have the resources and expertise to deliver the project, including all expenditure, within six months of the launch of the grant programme.
  • Confirm that the activity isn’t retrospective and hasn’t commenced before the time of approval.
  • Show that the requested grant covers between 50-100% of the total project cost. i.e. if the maximum of £3,000 is applied for, the total project costs should not exceed £6,000.
  • Subsidy control rules apply.

Evidence shows that businesses that engage with recognised business support are likely to be more successful with accessing funding. While it isn’t a requirement, we do encourage businesses thinking of applying to reach out to your local Growth Hub  or Destination Management Organisation (Visit Kent, Visit Essex) where you can find support, advice and resources which can be used to help shape your application.

If you do not think that you meet these criteria but are still looking for funding opportunities, we have provided a full list of other support available to businesses in the visitor economy. One of these options may be a better fit for your business.

How do I apply?

The application form will be open for an initial window from 09.00 on 15th July 2021 to 23.59 on 18th July 2021. If certain funding allocations are not met from the initial applications, then the form may reopen for a second application window to businesses that meet specific criteria.

As the window for applying to the fund is short, we advise businesses to prepare the following information in advance:

  • Details of the project you need funding for, including a cost breakdown.
  • An explanation of how this funding will help increase business resilience or deliver an adaptation in response to COVID-19.
  • Details of how your business has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Company registration number or HMRC unique tax reference.
  • Your business turnover for the last financial year and balance sheet.
  • Number of full-time equivalent staff employed by the company.
  • Details of any other public funding you have received in line with subsidy control rules.

Applications are now closed

When will I hear if my application has been successful?

Once you have submitted your application you will receive a confirmation email to acknowledge receipt. The email will also include a contact email address.

Our Grant team at Southend-on-Sea Borough Council will contact you by email to advise whether your initial application has passed the eligibility criteria. We aim to respond within 5 working days, but this will be dependent on the number of applications received. If your application has passed the eligibility check, we will collect additional eligibility and compliance information including supplying comparative quotes for the purchases detailed in the application. We may also need to clarify some details from the application with you.

We aim to provide a decision on applications as quickly as possible. However, the duration of the process is dependent on a number of factors including the volume of applications being processed and how quickly you are able to provide the requested information. We will keep you updated on progress and you will notified by email as to whether your application has been successful or not.

Please note, you should not make any purchases until you have confirmation that the funding application has been approved.

How and when will I receive the funds if my application is successful?

If your application is successful, you will receive an approval confirmation by email. You should only commence your project and purchase equipment once you have written confirmation that your application has been approved.

Following official approval, you will receive a Grant Funding Agreement for signing electronically.

Once you have made your purchase, you will need to provide evidence of your purchase to the Revi-VE Grant Team before the funding can be released to you.

We expect the process to take around 10 weeks from initial application to grant payment.

As part of the funding agreement, you will be required to provide further feedback on the impact of the project on your business. You will be contacted 6 and 12 months after you receive the funding to provide more information via a short survey.

What other funding or support is available?

We would encourage all businesses considering applying to the Revi-VE fund to access recognised business support and sector-specific resources. If this fund is not the right fit for your business, then you can access:

Business support and advice

Visitor economy specific resources and support

Grant programmes

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