New Hertfordshire Crowdfunder platform

Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is to provide emergency funding to support
local retail, tourism and hospitality businesses impacted by Covid-19. Working in partnership with Visit Herts and Crowdfunder.

Crowdfund Hertfordshire: Small Business Innovation Fund, which is due to launch 5th May, will
support small and micro businesses within the tourism, leisure, hospitality, retail, arts and cultural
sectors. Initial research conducted by the World Tourism Organisation indicates this sector has been one of the hardest hit of all economic sectors, with international tourism expected to fall by 20-30% in 2020. In Hertfordshire alone, the sector contributes more than 40,000 jobs and £2.2 billion to the local economy each year.

Hertfordshire LEP has set aside £200k to support the scheme, by offering grant funding up to a max of £5,000 on a £1 for £1 match basis. By quickly delivering revenue funding, Hertfordshire LEP is offering support to struggling businesses, helping them to adapt to the number of new challenges posed both during and post-lockdown. This, in turn, will help protect jobs within the area, while also having a wider impact on the many other businesses affected by the hospitality sector through supply chains.

Administered by Visit Herts, Crowdfund Hertfordshire: Small Business Innovation Fund will operate
through Crowdfunder’s Pay It Forward campaign, which offers businesses a free and simple platform to raise money to help with immediate cash flow and the ability to diversify during these challenging times.

Small retail, tourism and hospitality businesses will be encouraged to raise money through pledges from their community and loyal customers, keen to rally behind their favourite local businesses. Once a business secures their target through the Crowdfunder campaign, successful applicants will be able to unlock up to £5,000 in match funding from the Crowdfund Hertfordshire: Small Business Innovation Fund.

Successful micro and small businesses will be able to demonstrate they have been negatively
impacted by Covid-19, and will need to use the funding to adapt and deliver innovative new ways to continue to reach their customer base and transition into a recovery phase post-lockdown.

Hertfordshire LEP Deputy Chair Adrian Hawkins said: “Tourism, retail and hospitality sectors are
disproportionately affected by the Covid-19 crisis and are likely to be locked down for longer than other industries. It is vital that we throw a lifeline to the high levels of small and micro businesses within these sectors. By helping to provide immediate cash flow, we can enable them to diversify and adapt to the new environment post lockdown and bounce back in the long term.”

Deirdre Wells, OBE, Chief Executive of Visit Herts said: “Businesses within the hospitality sector have been greatly impacted by Covid-19 and the new social-distancing measures put in place over the last few weeks. Despite these challenges, we have seen a great deal of innovation among Hertfordshire’s businesses. Bolstered by the new Crowdfund Hertfordshire: Small Business Innovation Fund, and support from the local community, it is this creativity and innovation that will help our businesses to remain resilient over the coming months.”


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