Mitigate the impact of COVID-19

This page is an online resource for our customers and Northern Ireland businesses affected by the global coronavirus pandemic.

You can access the latest support from the UK Government and Northern Ireland Executive here, as well as existing financial, capability development and advisory support available from Invest Northern Ireland. 

Collectively, these programmes will mitigate the immediate impact of COVID-19 on your business, help you to adapt and survive this unprecedented crisis, and prepare for recovery. We are also working with the Department for the Economy and our stakeholders to develop tailored support that will ensure businesses build their operational and financial resilience. 

We recognise your business is unique in its ability to respond to COVID-19. So you can access what you need quickly, we have grouped our support into four categories: respond, recover, rebuild and resources. You can access the support under each category at any time, depending on personal circumstances, such as the size of your business, the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on your sector, jobs, revenues and working practices, or the support you need to prioritise first.

Underpinning this support is our business information website, nibusinessinfo.co.uk, with a dedicated section offering coronavirus updates on the latest government support and official guidance including details of financial support schemes, policy information and comprehensive advice on key business areas to help manage the current challenges.

Respond

This section outlines the financial support you can immediately access from the UK Government and Northern Ireland Executive to stabilise the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on your business.

Some of the support may be subject to eligibility criteria. To find out more, contact your Invest NI Client Executive or call our Business Support Team on 0800 181 4422

  • Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

    UK employers can ‘furlough’ employees that would have otherwise been laid off during this crisis. Access financial support to cover up to 80% of staff wages, up to £2,500 per employee.

  • Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

    Government backed support for UK-based SMEs with an annual turnover of up to £45 million, to access loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance of up to £5 million for up to six years.

  • Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme

    Support for UK-based businesses with an annual turnover of between £45 million and £500 million, to access loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance of up to £25 million.

  • Coronavirus Bounce Back Loan Scheme

    Government backed scheme delivered through a network of accredited lenders to help SMEs borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 with no fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months.

  • COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility

    Government backed scheme where the Bank of England will buy short-term debt from large companies to finance short-term liabilities, ease supply of credit and support corporate finance markets.

  • NI Micro-business Hardship Fund

    The NI Executive has launched a new £40 million fund for qualifying Northern Ireland based micro-businesses and social enterprises facing immediate cash flow difficulties due to the impact of COVID-19.

  • Self-Employed Income Support Scheme

    Financial support for self-employed individuals or members of partnerships to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for the next 3 months.

  • Future Fund for innovative businesses

    Government backed scheme for convertible loans from £125,000 to £5 million for innovative UK businesses replying on equity investment, subject to at least equal match funding from private investors.

  • COVID-19 Emergency Rates Package

    An emergency £100 million rates package to assist Northern Ireland businesses impacted by COVID-19 include a delay in rate bills for 2020-21 and no rates charged in April, May and June 2020.

  • Small Business Support Grant Scheme

    One-off £10,000 grant from the Northern Ireland Executive to businesses in receipt of the Small Business Rate Relief, automatically applied to business properties with a rateable value below £15,000.

  • Hospitality, Tourism and Retail Grant

    One-off £25,000 grant from the Northern Ireland Executive to ratepayers in the hospitality, tourism and retail sectors who pay rates on a property with a rateable value between £15,001 and £51,000.

Recover

This section outlines the support you can access from Invest NI over the coming weeks and months to help mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on your business and plan for recovery.

Some of the support may be subject to eligibility criteria. To find out more, contact your Invest NI Client Executive or call our Business Support Team on 0800 181 4422.

  • HR advice to build skills and business continuity 

    Access best practice advice to help you identify and review the most up-to-date COVID-19 guidance regarding emerging HR issues from government, and develop an action plan appropriate to your business.

  • Ensure continuity through training and skills

    Support to help your business respond to COVID-19 and achieve greater flexibility by retraining, upskilling or multi-skilling staff and introducing new business practices or resourcing plans.

  • Build resilience through leadership capability

    Our Mentoring and Non-Executive Director schemes offer your business an external adviser to help improve decision-making and provide constructive challenge and support for customers.

  • Invest in ICT solutions and technologies

    Advice and financial support for new ICT systems, establishing remote working, using e-commerce to mitigate the impact of social distancing rules or redefining your business processes.

  • Operational excellence to adapt to COVID-19

    Access support to address current challenges by redesigning the layout of your premises to operate safely, redirecting resources to work smarter, and rebuilding capacity and supply chains.

  • Expert insights from our global network

    Experienced trade advisors in Northern Ireland and a network of commercial experts in 24 locations around the world provide insights into the impact of COVID-19 on your industry and target markets.

  • Support for standards, certifications and IP

    Up to £10,000 available to obtain recognised standards and product certifications, redesign or repurpose existing products and processes, and protect intellectual property during the COVID-19 crisis.

  • Mitigate the impact of COVID-19 with R&D

    R&D can help you respond to this changing environment and there is support available to offset the costs of project definition, proof of concept, prototyping or developing new products and services.

  • Five days coaching and mentoring support

    The Enterprise Europe Network offers five days coaching and mentoring support covering advice on business strategy, market readiness, international collaboration or accessing finance.

Rebuild

This section outlines how Invest NI can help protect your business for the future, rebuild resilience and recover from the COVID-19 crisis, and position Northern Ireland for future growth.

Some of the support may be subject to eligibility criteria. To find out more, contact your Invest NI Client Executive or call our Business Support Team on 0800 181 4422.

  • Set a clear direction and strategy for your business

    Review your business strategy, evaluate key actions and validate your forecasts within the context of the COVID-19 crisis, and access expert advice to take advantage of new opportunities.

  • Be a strategic leader and create a cohesive team

    Access specialist expertise and lessons from peer networks to work cohesively, plan ahead and design your future based on a sound assessment of learned experience, and a new vision of what is possible.

  • Become competitive with sustainable development

    Access expertise and funding for energy and resource efficiency projects and resource efficient equipment that will improve efficiencies, deliver lasting cost savings and minimise waste.

  • Access networks to meet current challenges

    Prioritise your business needs, address current challenges, develop new business models and supply chains, and rebuild your customer base, by working collaboratively with SMEs and strategic partners.

  • Support to develop an export development plan

    Identify new customers and markets through market research and intelligence, lead generation, building export skills and capability and accessing export-related financial incentives.

  • Access expertise in universities and colleges

    Use a Knowledge Transfer Partnership to help your business recover from the COVID-19 crisis through improved quality and operations, increased sales and access to new markets.

  • Research new markets and new opportunities

    Research how COVID-19 could affect your industry including insights into potential market opportunities and consumer demands, and access databases to source alternative suppliers or customers.

  • Funding for SMEs to scale to the next level

    Access a range of funding solutions from our Access to Finance suite of products containing six funds totalling almost £200 million to support SME growth across both loans and equity products.

  • Tutorial: Develop and deliver a successful sales pitch

    This tutorial explains how to prepare and structure your sales pitch combining communication and visual aids, effectively handle a Q&A session and deliver 30-second elevator pitch.
     

Resources

This section outlines the range of resources, including recorded webinars and online tutorials, you can access key business areas to help manage and address the current challenges.

Some of the support may be subject to eligibility criteria. To find out more, contact your Invest NI Client Executive or call our Business Support Team on 0800 181 4422.

  • Webinar: Business Interruption Loan Scheme

    Recording of a webinar developed in partnership with the British Business Bank, Danske Bank UK and Grant Thornton covering key features, eligibility criteria, preparing your application and Q&A.

  • Webinar: Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

    Recording of a webinar developed in partnership with A&L Goodbody on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, covering eligibility criteria, key concerns, alternative options and Q&A.

  • Webinar: Measures to manage a crisis

    Recording of a webinar developed in partnership with PwC on the short and medium term impact of COVID-19 including liquidity requirements, cashflow considerations and government support.

  • Tutorial: Managing cash flow during COVID-19

    This tutorial outlines key actions to help improve cash flow, including regular forecasting, managing your debtors and creditors and accessing government support to improve liquidity.

  • Tutorial: Using lean to drive competitiveness

    This tutorial explains what lean thinking is and how to apply it to your business. You will learn how to identify current ‘waste’ in your business, how you can fix them and the resulting benefits.

  • Tutorial: Plan and choose the best plant layout

    Organising business processes is critical during the COVID-19 crisis. This tutorial explains the principles that underpin good plant layout and will help you to plan a new layout and choose the best process.

  • Webinar Series: Practical Export Skills

    Based on our popular Practical Export Skills workshops, this webinar series will outline the importance of staying connected with your audience on Social Media during COVID-19 and how Social Media can improve your business.

 
We are constantly refining and updating the support available to meet the needs of our customers and Northern Ireland businesses. We will add new information to this page as soon as it becomes available, so please check back from time to time.

To find out more, visit nibusinessinfo.co.uk/coronavirus, contact your Invest NI Client Executive or call our Business Support Team on 0800 181 4422.

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