Council offers ‘invaluable’ grants for new businesses

By Jake Chown  
Wednesday 27th April 2022 6:00 am
Volunteers who run The Pantry in St Briavels benefited from a start-up grant from the district council last year

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BUSINESSES are being invited to apply for grants of up to £1,000 from the council to help them “grow and prosper” in the years to come.

The Forest Council has launched its next round of start-up grants for local businesses and social enterprises that incorporated after April 2020.

Applications for the grants close on June 30, but subsequent rounds are set to be launched later in the year.

So far, the scheme has awarded more than £12,000 to support growth plans for 13 local businesses and social enterprises.

The scheme has been extended until February 28, 2023, with an additional £20,000 of council funding available.

The authority says the funding could stretch to support a further 25 businesses, based on the range of grants previously approved.

Cabinet Member for Economy, Cllr Bernie O’Neill, said: “We had a great first run with our start-up grant scheme last year and were able to support some fantastic new businesses and social enterprises in the district.

“To see new businesses launch successfully right here in the Forest of Dean, after the difficulty of the pandemic has been incredible.

“We are pleased to say that we are able to continue with this scheme and will have grants available to new and eligible businesses to help them grow and prosper, hopefully for many years to come.”

One of the businesses to benefit from a grant last year was The Pantry, a community-led village shop and deli in St Briavels.

The volunteers who run the shop used the funds to introduce an electronic point of sale for customers and a new stock management system.

Mark Walton, Volunteer Committee Member of The Pantry, said: “The Council grant was a great help which allowed us to install an electronic point of sale system during our first year of operation.

“This has been invaluable in enabling us to produce itemised receipts and having an efficient stock management  system.

“Although it took some time for our staff and volunteers to get used to it, we couldn’t now envisage being able to run the shop without it and has certainly contributed to a successful first year of operation.”

The grants are offered on a match funding basis, so applicants will need to investing at least £1,000 of their own money to qualify for the full amount.

The council says the funds can be used towards “a variety of activities”, including research and development, installing clean technologies, staff training, equipment purchases and product launches.

Home-based businesses are not eligible for the scheme.

For more information about the scheme and to apply, go to

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