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Growth Support Kickstart Grant Scheme

Small businesses and the tourism sector across Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay are among those who can benefit from the Growth Support Kickstart Grant Scheme offering grants of up to £3,000.

It follows the recent government announcement of a £10 million national investment to kickstart the tourism economy and a £20 million national investment to support small business to get going again and recover from the impacts of COVID-19. The Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership (HotSW LEP) has been awarded a £771,164 share of this funding to help with the economic recovery in the region.

The funding is expected to be administered by The European Regional Development Funded (ERDF) Heart of the South West Growth Support Programme to support tourism sector businesses and other small businesses.

Businesses across the Heart of the South West LEP area of Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay will be able to make a single application for a grant of between £1,000 and £3,000 in the coming weeks to fund the purchase of:

  • Specialist consultancy;
  • Minor items that enable the business to adopt new technology that supports its day to day running costs;
  • Minor items that enable the business to adapt existing technology that supports its day to day running costs.


The aim of the fund is to support as many businesses as possible, with grants being issued on a first come first served basis through the completion of a simple application form.

It is hoped the fund will be open for applications before the end of the month. In the meantime, to help businesses prepare, Information and Guidance along with an FAQ has been published online and businesses are encouraged to read this: Kickstart grant webpage.

Councillor Rufus Gilbert, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Economy and Skills, said: “This is very welcome funding support for the tourism sector and other small and medium sized businesses. It’s vital at this time that businesses get the support they need to recover from the devastating impact the coronavirus has had on the economy. The scale of the downturn also means that we will need Government to continue to provide further support. Combined with the business needs diagnostic that is already available from the Heart of the South West Growth Hub, these grants for new technology and equipment could help hundreds of businesses back on their feet.”

Karl Tucker, Chair of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership, which funds and manages the Heart of the South West Growth Hub, said: “Whilst we welcome this additional funding to support the tourism and other sectors in the Heart of the South West, this amount of money will only scratch the surface of the challenge we are facing in the region. We will continue to press the Government for additional funding that will enable many more of the businesses in this region to be supported through these difficult times. Our Growth Hub has been extremely effective and agile during this unprecedented period for business, having dealt with around three times its normal level of enquiries. We aim to build on this Kickstart funding to leverage further investment to help our economy restart, revitalise and grow.”

The ERDF Heart of the South West Growth Support Programme was established in 2017 and is now delivered alongside the Heart of the Southwest Growth Hub by Devon County Council. The Heart of the Southwest Growth Hub has been selected to support the delivery of the Growth Support Kickstart Grants to the HotSW LEP business community, in addition to its existing support offer which provides an initial 3-hour business needs diagnostic followed by a choice of business support modules. This is part of a wider business support package across the HotSW which includes the Growth Hub and is also supported by the HotSW LEP Partnership, The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government though its Growth Deal funding.

To stay up to date with available business support and funding, including the Kickstart Grant Scheme opening date, please sign up to the HotSW Growth Hub’s newsletter.

Please email if you have any questions or you can visit our Kickstart grant webpage and refer to the published FAQ.


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      David Ralph

      Chief Executive

      David Ralph started as Chief Executive of Heart of South West LEP at the beginning of June 2018. Previously, he had spent 5 years as CEO of the Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire (D2N2) LEP from 2013 where he oversaw the development of the D2N2 Strategic Economic Plan and sector strategies, 3 Growth Deals with HM Government to deliver a £1billion capital investment programme, securing and implementing £200m ESIF programme, the Derby and Nottingham Enterprise Zone, the D2N2 Skills Deal and Time for Innovation programme, community fund and led the executive team to develop the HS2 East Midlands hub. He was also closely involved in the proposed North Midlands Devolution Deal and one of the key architects in establishing the Midlands Engine, chairing the officer steering group. Whilst in this role David was a NED of the Nottingham Enterprise Zone, and Marketing NG, the Outer Estates Foundation and a Governor of Nottingham College and on the advisory Board of Nottingham Business School.

      Before the East Midlands, David was CEO of the Have Gateway Partnership working closely with local stakeholders including the ports of Felixstowe, Harwich and Ipswich and BT Adadastral Park across Suffolk and Essex and prior to that was Chief Exec of the Barton Hill New Deal for Communities programme in Bristol and the Nelm Development Trust in Norwich.

      David is a keen sailor, walker and trail runner.