Whether you are thinking about opening your business in Rugby, or have been trading in the town for a while, we hope that you find this page of information, contacts and networking groups useful.

Closing date SEISS 29 January

Applications for the third SEISS grant to support self-employed people affected by coronavirus must be made before the 29th of January.

The third taxable grant is worth 80% of your average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months’ worth of profits, and capped at £7,500 in total.

To make a claim for the third grant your business must have had a new or continuing impact from coronavirus between 1 November 2020 and 29 January 2021, which you reasonably believe will have a significant reduction in your profits.

You can make a claim for the third grant if you’re eligible, even if you did not make a claim for the first or second. If you were not eligible for the first and second grant based on the information in your Self-Assessment tax returns, you will not be eligible for the third.

To make your claim call HRMC on 0800 024 1222 or complete your claim online https://www.tax.service.gov.uk/self-employment-support where you will need your

  • Self-Assessment Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR
  • National Insurance number
  • Government Gateway user ID and password and
  • UK bank details.

Government introduces new measures to crack down on late payments for suppliers

Companies will have to pay smaller suppliers within 30 days under the new terms of the Prompt Payment Code as the government seeks to crack down on late payment.

The government has announced reforms to the Prompt Payment Code, cutting by half the required payment period for companies paying smaller suppliers. Under the new rules, signatories will have to pay 95% of invoices from small businesses (those with less than 50 employees) within 30 days from 1 July 2021. The target for larger businesses will remain 95% of invoices within 60 days.

Under the reformed code, business leaders will be required to take personal responsibility for paying suppliers on time. Breaches will continue to be publicised by the government in order to encourage compliance. The government is also seeking to strengthen the powers of the Small Business Commissioner, with legally binding payment orders, investigations and fines.

The changes coming into effect immediately are:

  • A company’s CEO or Finance Director, or the business owner, must personally sign the Prompt Payment Code (PPC)
  • A new PPC logo must be used in external communications to show a company’s commitment to the code, making it more damaging to a company’s reputation to breach it
  • Firms must acknowledge as a condition of signing the code that suppliers can charge interest on late invoices.
 Insurance pay outs for small firms

Tens of thousands of small businesses are expecting to receive insurance pay outs covering losses from the first national lockdown, following a court ruling.

The Supreme Court has found largely in favour of small firms receiving payments from business interruption insurance policies. The Financial Conduct Authority brought the test case with eight insurers agreeing to take part in proceedings.

One of the insurers set to make significant payouts is Hiscox, which was challenged by thousands of its policyholders as part of the case. Other insurers involved in the test case are Arch, Argenta, MS Amlin, QBE and RSA – but as many as 60 insurers sold similar products.

In the lockdown of last spring, many small businesses made claims through business interruption insurance policies for loss of earnings when they had to close. But many insurers refused to pay, arguing only the most specialist policies had cover for such unprecedented restrictions.

It was agreed that a selection of policy wordings should be tested in court, setting the parameters for what would be considered a valid claim. The complex ruling covered issues such as disease clauses, whether business were denied access to the properties, and the timing of lost earnings.

Insurance policies would have been amended for new and renewing customers since this issue emerged, so losses from the latest lockdown measures in different parts of the UK would be clearly stated as part of the cover – or not – in new business interruption insurance policies.

£4.6BN of business support announced

As England enters our third lockdown, businesses in retail, hospitality and leisure impacted by COVID-19 will receive new grants, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced. The one off grants will be worth up to £9,000 per property and be granted to closed businesses as follows:

  • £4,000 for businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or under
  • £6,000 for businesses with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
  • £9,000 for businesses with a rateable value of over £51,000
  • Any business which is legally required to close, and which cannot operate effectively remotely, is eligible for a grant.

The help is in addition to business rates relief and the extended furlough scheme which has been extended until the end of April. Separately, £594m will be made available to Local Authorities and the Devolved Administrations to support other businesses not eligible for the grants, that might be affected by the restrictions. In total, the package of measures is worth £4.6bn.

Coventry University Small Business Leadership programme

Coventry University Business School is launching a Small Business Leadership Programme (SBLP) that will support senior business leaders to enhance their business’s resilience and recovery from the impact of COVID-19.

The free online course will be delivered online through a series of eight 90-minute webinars over the course of 10 weeks and will provide the knowledge needed for businesses to tackle crisis situations, as well as providing access to small business and management experts from Coventry University Business School.

To apply for the free 10 week Small Business leadership Programme please register your interest, the course starts on Thursday 14 January.

Additional Restrictions Grants launched for business owners

Rugby Borough Council has launched a fresh round of grants to support businesses in the borough struggling with the latest national lockdown.

The Additional Restrictions Grants (ARGs) aim to offer financial support to businesses which were ineligible to apply for a Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed premises) offered by the Government during the November lockdown.

The council has tailored the ARG criteria to support businesses which supply services to firms forced to close during the lockdown, such as retail, entertainment venue and accommodation suppliers, and businesses operating in the cultural and creative sector. The ARGs also aim to provide support to the self-employed, freelancers, market traders and people who run a business from home.

Businesses can apply for grants ranging from £500 to £3,000 – depending on the number of employees and the rateable value of business premises or the fixed, monthly business costs. To apply visit the Rugby Borough Council website

8 tips to maximise Small Business Saturday

For Small Business Saturday on 5th December, the campaign to boost small independent retailers has these eight top tips:

  1. Register your business for free on the Small Business Saturday Directory https://smallbusinesssaturdayuk.com/my-small-business
  2. Use the SBS logo and social media assets on your website to improve SEO
  3. Offer customers an exclusive offer on the day
  4. To boost your business’s community values build a charity donation or support into your business plan.
  5. Partner with like-minded brands and collaborate with other retailers. By teaming up you could offer complimentary goods and services to make a more attractive purchase for customers.
  6. Run a targeted email and social media strategy, have content ready in advance so that when you are busy you don’t miss out on opportunities to communicate with your customers.
  7. Update local media with a press release on your activities and plans.
  8. Tag @SmallBizSat in social media so that they can give you a shout out too.
Social media support

Tech company Maybe is currently running a competition where one lucky high street business could win £500 in Facebook ads and a year’s access to social media tools and experts to boost their marketing.

Maybe* are a team of social media experts that help High Street businesses use social media to deliver sales. Check their Facebook page for details on how to apply before Wednesday 2 December.

Local Restrictions Support Grant applications open

Businesses in the borough forced to close during the latest national lockdown can now apply to Rugby Borough Council for a grant.

The Government has launched the Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG) to support businesses which were forced to shut down when fresh national lockdown restrictions were introduced on 5 November.

The grants cover the four week lockdown period and only businesses which were trading before the lockdown came into effect and were forced to close can apply. Businesses must also have occupied premises on which business rates were paid on 5 November to be eligible for a grant, which range from £1,334 to £3,000 depending on the rateable value of the premises.

Full application criteria, together with the online LRSG application form, can be found at www.rugby.gov.uk/supportgrant

Build your own website workshop

On Thursday 12 November the Small Business Saturday 2020 Tour pays a virtual visit to Rugby and local business owners are invited to join a free workshop Build Your Own E-Commerce Website.

During this free one hour session, Grace Sutton supported by BT Skills will equip you with the knowledge to create your own e-commerce platforms and website. You will learn to understand your audience, define your USP and set up an online trading point.

You can register for the workshop that starts at 11am here

During the day there will be plenty more opportunities to get involved and promote your SME:

Interviews – If you would like be interviewed about your small business, local area or expertise please email: bustour@smallbusinesssaturdayuk.com.

Mentoring – To book a free, virtual 1-1 mentoring session with a local business expert, please follow the link to create your free ‘My Small Business’ account and choose a time & topic that suits you: www.smallbusinesssaturdayuk.com.

Happy Hour – Join in Happy Hour at midday to hear local good news stories and be in with a chance of winning a giveaway prize!

The Small Business Saturday website is packed with free workshops and webinars with specialists, experts and small business owners that are available from now until Saturday 5 December. 

Retailers offered a free Click & Collect service

Rugby Borough Council is funding a new Shop Appy service to support shopkeepers, whose crucial pre-Christmas footfall has now been removed by new lock-down restrictions.

The service provides an online store-front for businesses who are unable to provide online shopping basket and payment services, allowing them to list items for collection or delivery during this crucial shopping period.

Cllr Jill Simpson-Vince, Rugby Borough Council portfolio holder for Growth and Investment, said: “With just a few days until all non-essential shops must close, but with only a few trading weeks until Christmas, now is the time for businesses to make the most of this opportunity.

“The Shop Appy service has a track record of helping small businesses to diversify and to find new customers who are unable to browse in store but want to support local businesses. The borough council is pleased to be funding this service, and I would encourage all independent retailers in the borough to find out more.”

Retailers can register their interest by emailing info@shopappy.com.

2,000 loans distributed to Rugby companies

Nearly 2,000 loans totalling over £68 million have been given by the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) Growth Hub to help companies in Rugby overcome the coronavirus pandemic.

The loans were given by the Government through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) and administered through accredited lenders and partners.

Craig Humphrey, the managing director of the CWLEP Growth Hub, said the figures indicated the high level of support businesses had needed throughout the area to survive Covid-19.

“Providing this level of financial support has enabled businesses to carry on trading, look at alternative revenue streams such as switching to online sales and needing to improve their digital infrastructure, or use it for working capital. Being able to access finance quickly has been needed by SMEs who often don’t have huge cash reserves and had to react to the rapidly-changing financial situation they found themselves in, often by having to close their premises.”

Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) extended

Warwickshire County Council has extended its Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) to support owners and staff at town centre businesses with their health and wellbeing.

The programme will be available to businesses with 10 or fewer employees operating in the towns of Warwickshire who may need help. This includes access to information, support and guidance (including coaching and counselling where appropriate) on a wide range of topics including work, career, relationships, family, money management, debt and health and wellbeing.

The support will be available on an on-going basis subject to funding. Companies and individuals interested can access the service by contacting business@warwickshire.gov.uk.

Work begins on Rugby’s first co-working space

Work has started on transforming Chestnut House on North Street into Rugby’s first co-working space.

Bloom.Space offers more than just a desk and high speed WiFi. Members have access to a wide range of expertise, mentorship and our network of 100+ alumni. Bloom.Space Rugby will be a bright, safe, well kitted-out space of individual work stations and private meeting rooms, in a flexible environment to meet startups, small businesses and freelancer needs.

New Retail and Hospitality Fund (now closed)

Warwickshire County Council is establishing a small number of Covid-19 recovery and investment programmes as part of an initial £5 million package of funding approved by council to support the immediate economic recovery in the county.

The Retail and Hospitality Recovery and Investment Fund offers grants of £2,000 to £7,500 towards the costs of capital investments. It is designed to help micro and small businesses in the retail and hospitality sectors fund capital investment projects which sustain their business, safeguard jobs and support its future growth.

Eligible costs include refurbishing or refitting property to increase footfall or improve visitors’ experiences, creating an online sales presence, investing in dedicated IT and computer software, and the purchase of minor equipment.

Grants are only available towards the costs of tangible capital assets for businesses with a minimum of one year’s trading history.

Before applying, please read the guidance notes and the application form can be accessed here

The closing date for applications is Friday 11 September.

 

Free Digital Town Centres Training

Stories Marketing will be running a series of seven free workshops in the Autumn, starting on 23 September.

The Digital Town Centres training is open to all Warwickshire retailers to help you reach and connect with current and new customers through online and social media tools. Covid-19 has shown that now customers are online more than ever before and it’s imperative for you to learn how to embrace digital to grow your business. Book your place via the Eventbrite website.

Take Action Tuesday  

A new online support line is launching on Tuesday 11 August, for local start-up businesses, or those looking for support to grow out of the Coronavirus crisis.

The Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce’s Accelerated Growth team will hold one-to-one conversations with owners and managers of companies of all sizes and sectors every Tuesday between 11am and 1pm.

The 121 Take Action Tuesday calls will offer 20-minute slots for businesses to book in with Chamber business advisers who will be able to offer information on everything from business planning and marketing to grant funding.

The support line is part of the Coventry & Warwickshire Business Support Programme and is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund and by Coventry City Council.

You can book directly via the Chamber Event website

Greener businesses

The Coventry and Warwickshire Green Business Programme has now been extended to June 2023 and an additional £1.25m of funding for small to medium sized businesses is available for energy efficiency measures.

This programme supports businesses with fewer than 250 employees based in Coventry and Warwickshire who want to save money on energy, waste and water bills and maximise low carbon opportunities.

It provides grants and free energy and resource efficiency audits to help identify where energy, water and waste savings can be made, as well as low carbon product development.

The Coventry and Warwickshire Green Business Programme is partly funded by the European Regional Development Fund and is being delivered by Coventry City Council, Coventry University, and Coventry University Enterprises Ltd.

Since the programme started in 2016, it has achieved the following:

  • £2m in grants have been awarded to 213 small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs)
  • There have been over 12,349 tonnes of CO2 savings
  • 60 new jobs have been created
  • 88 SMEs have received non financial support
  • 940 organisations have joined the Green Business Network.

For more details on the programme, download the leaflet here 

Commercial Property

To secure your next shop, office or light industrial unit in Rugby town centre, the following property consultants and surveyors can assist you buy, sell or rent commercial property in the town. From historic listed buildings to contemporary purpose built shopping centres there is a variety of spaces available.

George & Co

Phillips Sutton

Hartnell Taylor Cook

Holt Commercial

Johnson Fellows

Harris Lamb

If you are a company looking to move to the district or have plans to grow your business in the area, you can benefit from the free and confidential services from Warwickshire County Council which includes:

  • help with your property search
  • a directory of business grants, loans and finance
  • expert local insight
  • introductions to local networks and organisations including the Federation of Small Business (FSB), Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, Leamington Business Forum and Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP).
Budget Announcement on Business Rates  

In addition to the 0.5% cut in interest rates, the Chancellor announced in the budget on 11 March that shops, bars, cinemas, restaurants and hotels – with a rateable value of less than £51,000 – would be exempt from liability for business rates for the next financial year.

For businesses with rateable values of between £12,500 and £51,000, it will lower their costs compared to the current year. However, even if businesses are included in this business rates ‘holiday’ they are still required to pay a BID levy as these are two separate items.

Business rates are set by the Government and collected by the local authority, whereas the BID levy is a local charge to businesses, agreed by ballot and spent locally on services for town centre businesses within the BID area.

Meeting Rooms

Whether you need a venue big enough for a conference or just a meeting room you can find it in Rugby town centre. We have a selection of locations, sizes and facilities to meet your business needs, some of which are detailed below.

In addition to hosting music and sports events, private celebrations and weddings, the historic Rugby School also has eleven venues that cater to up to 700 people for conferences and events. Atmospheric, historical buildings, manicured grounds and first-class facilities are the back drop to a bespoke event that the team can create for you. A full brochure is available from their website. https://www.rugbyschool.co.uk/commercial/events-venue-hire/conferences-celebrations

Oxygen Graphics has a bright space (pictured above) that comfortably accommodates up to 12 people above their design studio in Albert Street. With free Wi-Fi and a 42” screen the space is ideal for team meetings, brainstorming and training. The meeting room hire of £40 per half day and £75 per full day also includes hot and cold drinks from the coffee machine and mini fridge in the room.

Tailoring for self-employed individuals who need an ongoing office space and small groups of up to six people for meetings with more privacy than a coffee shop can offer, Draper Hinks has two rooms available to hire. Both rooms are quiet, airy spaces that are available for £20 per half day and £40 for a full day. The Regent Street location is at the heart of the town, with on street parking (metered) and Rugby train station is a 10 minute walk away.

Useful Contacts

Our local government offices and agencies provide a variety of advice and support to business owners.

Networking

Rugby has a thriving network culture and here are just some of these business groups that you can join;


BNI

Business BUZZ

Coventry & Warwickshire PA Forum

Federation of Small Businesses

Socially Shared

The Athena Network