Fingal County Council’s commitment to supporting the local economy and assisting businesses during the difficult COVID-19 period has continued this week with the approval of the first round of funding totalling €1.4m under the ReStart Grant Scheme.
The Council has been to the forefront of supporting the business community during the pandemic and has implemented a range of supports and initiatives to assist small and medium enterprises.
The Economic Enterprise and Tourism Department has also worked closely with local Chambers of Commerce and national agencies since the crisis commenced in early March to provide much-needed support to businesses.
This week, funding totalling €1.4m have been awarded to 276 micro and small local businesses under the Restart Grant Scheme, which is aimed at directly at helping local businesses with the costs associated with either staying open or re-opening and re-employing workers following COVID-19.
Some 976 businesses have already completed online applications under the Scheme. Staff are continuing the process, validate and approve applications and grants will continue to be approved over the coming months. Businesses are encouraged to apply in line with the Government’s reopening Roadmap.
Businesses in Fingal, which fulfill the criteria, must apply for the ReStart Grant through Fingal County Council. Applications can be submitted at https://submit.link/E5RPF and details of the scheme are also available on the Fingal County Council website, www.fingal.ie/business. The closing date is August 31. The Grant will be equivalent to the rates bill of the business in 2019, with a minimum payment of €2,000 and a maximum payment of €10,000.
Fingal businesses are also set to benefit from a rates rebate under the €260m Rates Waiver Scheme which was announced recently by Government.
The Council also supported the setting up of a website, www.shoplocal.irish, and an accompanying app, which provides a non-profit directory for local businesses and encourages local communities to shop local by providing information on the types of retailers operating in their area. In tandem to this Fingal County Council will shortly launch the ‘Fingal In It Together’ Charter in partnership with Chambers of Commerce and the business community in Fingal.
Fingal’s Local Enterprise Office completely pivoted its operation from helping start-ups to supporting existing small businesses to survive and rolled out a series of initiatives including grants, online training and mentoring.
Another initiative which is also set to help retailers is the Fingal Walk Bike scheme which will see improved pedestrian and cycling facilities being introduced across the county to help increase footfall in town centres while ensuring that the social distancing protocol of two metres is met.
The Council also launched a special 90 second video to promote the message that Fingal is now open for business. It can be viewed at https://bit.ly/3hmyn0S,
Cllr Eoghan O’Brien, Mayor of Fingal said: “This is great news that the first round of funding under the ReStart Grant Scheme has been approved. It will be of great assistance to our local businesses as they re-open and begin welcoming customers again. It is now extremely important that local communities support their local shops and ensure that local jobs survive in what is a difficult business environment because of the need to adhere to public health guidelines.”
Cllr Tony Murphy, Chair of Fingal’s Economic Enterprise and Tourism Development Strategic Policy Committee said: “Micro, small and medium-sized businesses are the lifeblood of the Fingal economy and they will face many challenges in restarting their operations. The Chief Executive, her staff and the elected members are committed to supporting SME’s to reopen for business. Together we will rebuild a business environment we can be proud of.”
AnnMarie Farrelly, Chief Executive of Fingal County Council said: “Local authorities are in a unique position to support business and we are providing assistance in many different ways so that the Fingal economy can get restarted and return to the healthy position it was in prior to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are working with all stakeholders to seek solutions that will make that happen for over 6,000 rate-payers whose support is vital for many of the services we provide to communities across the county.”
Emer O’Gorman, Director of Economic Enterprise and Tourism Development at Fingal County Council said: “We have adopted a whole of Council approach to supporting our businesses and have established a cross-department group to ensure that our efforts are co-ordinated and properly targeted. We are sending out the message that Fingal is open for business and ready to take off again.”