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Welcome to the latest edition of the SVBS newsletter.

This week, we're focusing on Innovate UK's new Innovation Hub, funding and support for community businesses and our REPF grant funding opportunity.

We're also highlighting our Visitor Economy survey for businesses, Small Business Britain's new events hub and the OxLEP Visitor Economy grants launch webinar.

There are lots more opportunities, events and resources to get stuck into this week, but as always, if you'd like to suggest content for the SVBS newsletter, please get in touch with us.

- Team SVBS
Innovate UK is the UK’s national innovation agency, supporting business-led innovation in all sectors, technologies and UK regions. The team help businesses grow through the development and commercialisation of new products, processes and services, supported by an outstanding innovation ecosystem that is agile, inclusive and easy to navigate.

Innovate UK has created the Innovation Hub, containing public funding and support for innovation in one place.

The platform is free to use and resources include:
  • Support for getting started with your business
  • Finance and funding
  • Growing and scaling your business
  • General advice and support
  • Events
Check out the Innovation Hub on the official website.
Community Ownership Fund

Do you have a community building in your town that is closed? Is your village pub or shop up for sale? The Co-operative Futures team are providing support to community assets that are currently at risk.

The Community Ownership Fund is a Government programme designed to enable communities to bring buildings or land into community-ownership or management, in order to save and protect them for the long term benefit of the local area.

Not-for-profit organisations and Parish councils are eligible to apply for up to £250,000 in order to purchase or lease a community building or asset, and carry out any renovation works required for it to be a sustainable community business. The programme is open until March 2025. Find out more here.

Support for co-operatives

Do you have an idea for a business with a social purpose and collective ownership, but need some support getting through the start-up phase? Co-ops UK can award up to 6 days of free support with a business development advisor through the Start your Co-op programme. This might be to incorporate as a co-operative, create a business plan or work out your financial model.

If you are interested in finding out more about either of the above programmes, please get in touch with Alice Hemming at Co-operative Futures, who is based in Oxfordshire and is an advisor on the support programmes.
REPF: submit your expression of interest

We’ve recently secured funding through the government’s Rural England Prosperity Fund (REPF). 

The fund supports the aims of the government’s Levelling Up White Paper and Future Farming Programme. It will fund capital projects for small businesses and community infrastructure that help to improve productivity and strengthen the rural economy and rural communities.

We’ll be making funding available to help achieve aims set out in our Corporate Plan, including action on the climate emergency, and improving community and economic wellbeing.

You can find more information about REPF via the links below:
We’ll be opening a grant scheme to allow organisations to apply for this funding later this year. In the meantime, we’re asking interested parties to complete an expression of interest form (EOI). 

Completed EOIs will help us to understand local demand and will inform the criterion for our final grant scheme that we expect to be available in Autumn 2023.

Please note - by submitting your ideas, you are not committing to undertake the project, and we are not committed to funding it or to offer funding in this area.

Submit your expression of interest form here.
Have your say on our Visitor Economy

In collaboration with Tourism South East Research, we are inviting South and Vale based businesses to participate in a survey centred around the local visitor economy.

The deadline for completing this survey is Sunday 13 August at 11:59pm.

This survey will allow us to gain a better understanding of the sector, identifying the challenges faced by businesses and uncovering exciting opportunities for the future. The findings from this research will play a pivotal role in shaping strategies, materials and assets to support and improve the tourism sector, creating better experiences for both residents and visitors.

By taking part in this survey, you can contribute to the promotion of our rural districts as thriving destinations for tourism, leisure and well-being. Together, we can ensure that our local economy remains robust, supporting the vitality of town centres and high streets, and the viability of leisure, hospitality and cultural facilities.

This extensive research project is funded by the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

The survey should only take approximately 20 minutes of your time. As a token of our gratitude, all submissions will be entered into Tourism South East's competition for a chance to win one of three £75 gift cards of your choice.

Complete our buiness survey by following this link.

If you have any questions or need support in completing the survey, please contact or call 02380 625400.

Small Business Britain: Free help and training for small businesses

Are you a small business owner looking for free training and support?

Small Business Britain is now offering a range of online webinars for entrepreneurs looking to take their business to the next level.

From social media to sustainability, from using AI to looking after your mental health, there is a huge range of topics to choose from.

Check out the new Small Business Britain events here.
OxLEP Visitor Economy Grants launch webinar

Join OxLEP for their webinar on how the Visitor Economy Grant Scheme can drive the recovery and growth of Oxfordshire’s visitor economy.

Wednesday 16 August   |   9am - 10am

The scheme is designed to help businesses attract more visitors. Grants will range from £10,000 to £15,000 per business. The funding is available to Oxfordshire based businesses, with a primary function in the tourism, culture, arts, heritage, leisure, events or hospitality sectors.

Please note this is the final round of funding. If your business received a grant during the first round, you are not eligible to apply.

Register for the launch webinar via Eventbrite.

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