An £800,000 programme which could help businesses as they plan their recovery from the coronavirus lockdown has been launched in the Marches.

Grants of up to £10,000 are available under The Marches Small Equipment Grant (SEG), which is open to small and medium-sized firms across the region, including Herefordshire.

Programme manager Caroline Cattle said the grants would meet up to half the cost of installing new equipment to help SMEs create new jobs, boost productivity or launch new products and services.

She said the grants could be particularly useful as businesses began drawing up and implementing recovery plans in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The scheme, which is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund and supported by the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership and Marches Growth Hub – is part of a £3million funding package which also includes the Marches Building Investment Grant (MBIG).

Caroline Cattle said: “Businesses across the region are now starting to think about how they will recover from coronavirus and we think the Small Equipment Grant (SEG) can play a vital role.

“Grants of between £1,000 and £10,000 are available as a contribution of up to 50 per cent to help companies buy the equipment they need to recover from the impact of the last few months and innovate and expand, creating new jobs and products.”

Councillor Ellie Chowns, Herefordshire Council cabinet member for environment, economy and skills, said: “As a council and as an administration, we are committed to doing all we can to help our economy flourish. The Marches Building Investment Grant has helped so many local businesses to expand, but this Small Equipment Grant will really help small and medium sized enterprises access funding on a slightly smaller but no less significant scale.

“We are pleased to have been involved and encourage anybody who is interested to get in touch.”

Because of restrictions imposed by the ERDF, the scheme is not available to some business, but full details are available from the programme team on or by calling Herefordshire Council on 01432 261511.