UK Specialist SME insurer, Simply Business has revealed over 10,000 small business owners have applied for a single £10,000 Business Boost grant from the insurer in the first half of the year.
Simply Business launched the grant at the beginning of 2020 to help give a boost to small businesses but said it has seen a wave of applicants in grave need of financial help after lockdown hit. It comes as many SMEs have found themselves unable to access enough government support, or any at all.
Bea Montoya, COO at Simply Business, commented: “We’re astonished by the number of applications we’ve received for our Business Boost grant. We know the devastating impact Covid-19 has had on small businesses, with lockdown costing them £11,700 each on average. Almost half expect to lose up to £10,000, which can be a significant amount of money for the self-employed.”
The firm added: “Coronavirus has had a significant impact on the self-employed. A recent study of over 3,700 small business owners by Simply Business found that two thirds (67%) were forced to temporarily stop trading, and an estimated 234,000 SMEs have already shut down.”
SMEs also estimate that Covid-19 will cost them £11,779 each on average, in lost work, loan repayments and lost earnings. With over 5.8 million SMEs in the UK, accounting for over 99% of all businesses, the total cost to UK SMEs could reach over £69 billion.
Two-fifths (41%) are also at risk of having to permanently close their business – and this figure does not take in the potential impact of a second lockdown.
The firm said small business owners can still apply for the Business Boost grant until 28 September. A shortlist will be announced by 9 October and the winner will be announced in early November.
Ms Montoya added: “SMEs account for 99% of all UK businesses, and contribute a combined £2 trillion annually. Put simply, we need small businesses to bounce back if we’re to recover economically.
“That’s why we’re giving away £10,000 to one entrepreneur – to help them start or revive their business, providing a financial boost in these economically challenging times.
“Thankfully, the self-employed are resilient. We know that 75% intend to continue or restart their business, while a further 10% even plan to take the leap and start a new one. We’re hoping that our £10,000 Business Boost grant will enable the big dreams of one entrepreneur and give them the financial help they need during these difficult times.”