Mayor launches £1m fund to help small businesses and community groups


The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has pledged to help London’s small businesses and community groups not simply to recover from the current coronavirus crisis, but to ensure they’re better prepared for future emergencies.

Sadiq’s new £1m fund will help the small firms across our high streets and London’s many local community groups to keep up with the accelerated pace of change after the pandemic and to improve their own resilience to future shocks.

Businesses, social enterprises and community groups will be matched with innovators who will help them find new ways of delivering their products and services in these new circumstances. Grants of up to £50,000 will be available to support designing and testing these innovations.

Examples of innovations that could receive support from the fund range from new forms of data capture and digital infrastructure (for example to support the operational resilience of businesses) to ways of using data and technology to identify and address vulnerabilities in supply chains, local food or energy production.

Organisations which make the best use of data and technology have been shown to have greater sustainability during times of crisis.

The London Resilience Fund, supported by the London Enterprise Action Partnership, is the latest part of the Mayor’s plan to help London’s small businesses and local communities survive and thrive after the pandemic. Yesterday the Mayor announced he would use £1m to match-fund money spent by the public through his highly successful Pay It Forward London crowdfunding initiative, with around 200 of the capital’s small businesses expected to benefit.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said: “The last few months have tested the resilience of London and Londoners as never before. As the capital’s businesses and communities adapt to a post-Covid future, it is essential we learn the lessons the pandemic taught us and ensure we are prepared for the future. This fund will help our small firms and our local community groups to be better prepared for that future.

“Our small businesses and voluntary organisations are the lifeblood of our high streets and communities. Man of them are now struggling to survive and I’m determined to give them all the support I can.

“London leads the world in technology and innovation and it is exciting to see what can be achieved when our innovators and small businesses come together to build London’s resilience against future challenges.”

Lina Liakou – Managing Director Europe and the Middle East, Global Resilient Cities Network said: “For a city to thrive in the face of shocks and stresses, it needs to put its small businesses at the heart of a resilient recovery. Now more than ever, I am thrilled to see the bold action London is taking to support and mobilise its small business community.

“As a leading smart city with a strong digital industry, other cities look to London for leadership in innovation and will be excited to follow the Resilience Fund’s progress.”

Andrew Dakers Chief Executive, West London Business said: “The Resilience Fund will give small businesses and community groups the opportunity to build out ideas for how they can use tech to continue to pivot their services in response to the pandemic.

“The fund also encourages the development of open source solutions which should mean that after gaining first mover advantage successful applicants can also help raise the performance of the wider economy. It will be exciting to see the new wave of tech that emerges across the capital.”

Chris Thorpe, Head of Technology Research and Development of CAST/The Catalyst said: “I am excited to see how charities, small businesses and wider civic society can play a role in developing a resilient response and recovery from COVID-19.

“The London Resilience Fund is an innovative and much needed initiative to help Londoners and the organisations which support them.”

More information about the London Local Economic Action Partnership can be found here: https://lep.london/