COVID-19 Business Grants


The Kickstart Grants expression of interest is now closed.  

The scheme, initially launched in July, was set up to help local businesses to access external expertise, consultancy support or equipment that will help the business to respond to the impact of COVID-19.

Following the first round of applications, a small number of grants are still available. To fairly and effectively manage the anticipated high level of interest in applying for these grants, this final round will follow a ballot format. This will enable all businesses to have an equal opportunity to receive funding, with successful candidates chosen at random. *Please note, being drawn from the ballot does not guarantee your application will be successful.

We strongly advise you check your business is eligible and the ways in which the grants can be used in the Grants Guidance Notes before expressing interest.

Business interested in applying for the grants were invited to submit a short expression of interest (which was accessible from this webpage) from 10 am on Wednesday 18th November until 2 pm on Wednesday 25th November. Once submitted, the expressions of interest were added to a ballot – one ballot entry per company. The ballots will be drawn at regular intervals until all funds are allocated.

Businesses selected from the ballot will have the opportunity to submit a full grant application, which will be appraised by the SEMLEP’s Growth Hub grant panel.

If you are invited to apply, please read the Grants Guidance Notes prior to submitting your application; if you are unsure about anything please email [email protected]. If you make an ineligible application, it will be rejected.


About the fund

The Kickstart Grant Scheme was set up to support local businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19 and is open to SMEs in Bedfordshire, Milton Keynes and Northamptonshire.

Grants of between £1,000 – £3,000 are available and can be used to access external expertise, consultancy support or equipment that will help the business to respond to the impact of COVID-19. External support can include marketing, operations, HR, finance, health and safety and strategic planning. Examples include:

Please note: the value of any computer equipment (including, but not limited to, tablets, laptops, computers and mobile phones) purchased cannot exceed £1000 per item.

Grants of up to £5,000 are available in exceptional circumstances.

The grants cannot be used to cover existing costs (eg to pay wages, pay off debts or to pay bills/rent).

The grant rate is 100%, but businesses will have to make the initial payment for the support or purchase and claim the grant back. The VAT element of any support or purchase is not eligible for grant support. The only exception to this is if the company is not VAT registered.

You must not pay for any services or equipment before you have been officially awarded the grant, any payments made to prior to signing your funding contract will not be eligible for funding.

South East Midlands Kickstart Grants Guidance Notes
Get in touch

If you have any further questions about the South East Midlands Kickstart Grant Scheme, please email at [email protected].

If you want to talk through your wider finance and funding options, alongside your wider business plan and resilience, get in touch with the Growth Hub team emailing [email protected] or visit


Users with accessibility needs are invited to contact the Growth Hub outlining their needs before Tuesday 24th November to allow for apt adaptions.

SEMLEP's Growth Hub Kickstart Grant Scheme Privacy Notice