All buildings and all locations are open and operating as close to ‘business as usual’ as possible. Given the current situation, things are working a little differently; but they are working. We are doing all we can to make sure that critical workers can work.
Our own critical teams are on-site and running the operational essentials. Those who can work from home are, Marketing, HR, Business Development, Finance, Legal, Investment and Venture Development teams are just at the end of the phone (and email of course) though not geographically nearby.
We remain in close contact with every business, sharing regular updates and information. Should we receive reports of any confirmed cases, we will follow the guidance given by Public Health England and Health Protection Scotland immediately.
We are introducing a new SMS messaging service to get the most crucial information out quickly. Updates from our locations, national news and Government announcements are all shared daily on the new COVID-19 section on HQ.
Alongside these updates on HQ are business support resources (more info below), digital resources and a ‘working from home wellness directory’ of good news stories, online fitness and recipes.
Upcoming events, including Accelerators and Investment Showcases are now taking place digitally, as are weekly yoga practices with Paul (thank goodness) and a new ‘pub’ quiz.
As things change, so will our plans, but what we can say for certain is that we are here and we’re doing all we can. One of the best ways we can help right now is by sharing information and signposting resources.
Below is a list of all recently announced measures which may be of help. This list is continually updated and can be found, as part of the COVID-19 section, on HQ.
Stay healthy, stay well. We are very much looking forward to seeing you all again, in person, very soon.
Up to £90 million is available in continuity grants, paid upfront, to SMEs and third sector organisations who are existing Innovate UK award holders and who are at risk of abandoning their project due to a sudden shortage or even unavailability of funds directly related to COVID-19.
These grants are for eligible organisations that expect to have a funding gap (between £25,000 and £250,000) in the remaining period of their project because they are facing loss or damages, such as reduced access to capital, cancelled orders or increases to costs, and are therefore seeing cashflow disrupted as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Continuity grants are available until 29 May 2020.
Up to £210 million is available in continuity loans to SMEs and third sector organisations that have a challenge in continuing a live project for which they have an award from Innovate UK.
Loans are for organisations that that find themselves facing a sudden shortage or even unavailability of funds resulting directly from the COVID-19 pandemic.
This innovation continuity loan may be suitable if you need funding of between £250,000 and £1,600,000.
Continuity loans will be open for applications until all the money is allocated or 31 December 2020 – whichever is earlier.
Business advisory support services are available to around 6,000 innovative high-growth-potential, high-growth and scaling SMEs over the next 2 years managed through the Enterprise Europe Network.
Further details and guidance will be sent to existing customers and is available in the guidance document.
Following the advice that those who can’t work from home should go to work, the Government issued guidelines for making places of work COVID Secure.
For full information and the finer details for tenants, please click here
We are taking measures to ensure all common areas meet government guidelines and support businesses and their teams to return to work if they can’t work from home. Our sites have remained open throughout the crisis supporting those tenants carrying out critical work and/or unable to work from home. Throughout we have had skeleton crews on site ensuring the basic maintenance and services. These teams have been working in a socially distanced manner and we have been constantly risk assessing our working environment and working patterns.
We are maintaining a rigorous cleaning schedule of all common areas focussing on high touch points and hard surfaces. There is hand sanitiser in all receptions and building entrances and in a number of common areas.
People Flow and Signage
To keep people safe when moving about the buildings we ask that all tenants:
Stick to the left when walking down corridors and up and down stairways
Keep moving and don’t linger to chat
Limit the number of people in confined spaces such as toilets
We will be erecting comprehensive signage throughout our buildings as a reminder of these measures whilst also marking out 2m distancing. We will also be removing or marking off communal seating that can’t be used so as to maintain social distancing.
Reception and Visitors
We are only allowing essential visitors to site and we ask that you do the same – essential maintenance, machine repair and key installations etc. All other meetings, like client or supplier presentations, that can be held remotely should be done so.
Spillover office space
We recognise that social distancing within an office may be difficult, especially for those with limited space, so we are providing some temporary spillover space where socially distanced single hot desks will be available. All desks will face the same direction so it will be a bit like being in an exam hall but it will at least allow appropriate social distancing. There will be cleaning detergent available to clean desks before and after use. If you use BioCity IT services then the wifi in that area will allow your team to connect to your system.
Entering your tenanted areas
If a member of BioCity or support staff (e.g. engineering, maintenance) needs to enter your area for essential work then as always you will be given prior notice but also those individuals will wear a face mask and gloves whilst in your area.
Our meeting rooms and conferencing services are still suspended at the moment whilst we assess likely future demand and review whether they can be delivered within the latest ‘COVID Secure’ guidelines.
Café Services and Fitness Rooms remain closed for the foreseeable future.
The Government is encouraging people to return to work from today if they can’t work from home and has specifically mentioned those working in laboratories and scientific research on a number of occasions.
May 13, 2020 at 05:15 pm
Details of local, national and government resources/grants and useful links which may be available to you and your business. Please submit any other resources you are aware of to [email protected] and we will add it to this page to share with the collective.
From today (Monday 4 May), HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will begin contacting customers who may be eligible for the government’s Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS).
Those who are eligible will be able to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of their average trading profits up to a maximum of £7,500 (equivalent to three months’ profits), paid in a single instalment.
HMRC is also inviting customers, or their agents, to go online and check their eligibility for SEISS.
In order to receive quick confirmation from the eligibility checker, individuals should:
Once the online check is complete, eligible customers will be given a date when they can submit their claim. They will also be encouraged to update their contact details.
May 4, 2020 at 02:25 pm
New support for SMEs during coronavirus has today been launched in the form of nearly 100 expert-led webinars
The webinars will offer practical advice to SMEs and focus on issues businesses trading internationally are facing.
Many webinars will be hosted by an International Trade Adviser and include question and answer sessions, while others will feature guest speakers from business and industry.
Topics covered will range from managing distribution of supply chains and the movement of goods, to support for selling online overseas.
Secretary of State for International Trade, Liz Truss said:
Maintaining trade is essential if the UK is to overcome the unprecedented economic challenge posed by Coronavirus.
In these uncertain times, SMEs doing business internationally need as much information as possible on how to adapt and continue to carry out their day-to-day business.
These sessions provide an essential service to help address the concerns we have heard from businesses across the country over the last few weeks.
My department is here to support all businesses trading internationally, using the UK’s clout on the world stage to reduce barriers and lower tariffs to helps small firms and through providing advice from our extensive teams across the UK and around the globe.
As of 1 May the department has hosted 15 webinars with more than 1,000 attendees. Speakers scheduled this month include International Trade Advisors, the Federation of Small Businesses and the Freight Transport Association (FTA).
Business can register via great.gov.uk where all recorded webinars are hosted. DIT is also working with partners to take the usual schedule of events online.
There is also significant programme of webinars from other government departments, including HM Revenue and Customs and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, listed here.
May 4, 2020 at 02:25 pm
The Bounce Back Loan scheme helps small and medium-sized businesses to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000. The government guarantees 100% of the loan and there won’t be any fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months. Loan terms will be up to 6 years. No repayments will be due during the first 12 months. The government will work with lenders to agree on a low rate of interest for the remaining period of the loan.
The scheme will be delivered through a network of accredited lenders.
You can apply for a loan if your business:
Who cannot apply
The following businesses are not eligible to apply:
May 4, 2020 at 09:10 am
Find out how to get your study nationally supported or funded as high priority COVID-19 Urgent Public Health Research
COVID-19 Urgent Public Health Research is being prioritised to gather the necessary clinical and epidemiological evidence that will inform national policy and enable new diagnostic tests, treatments and vaccines to be developed and tested for COVID-19.
Government support is available to prioritise, coordinate and deliver these studies, regardless of sponsorship and funding source. This support includes expedited identification of sites to ensure appropriate geographical distribution of Urgent Public Health Research to maximise recruitment and minimise over-commitment of resource.
April 17, 2020 at 16:30 pm
NICE will provide free fast track advice for companies who are developing novel diagnostics or therapeutics for COVID-19.
The fast track service will help companies optimise their approach to generating essential levels of evidence required for health technology assessment. Depending on the demand for the free advice service, NICE may need to prioritise requests.
All scientific advice services will continue to run as normal, with meetings taking place virtually for the foreseeable future.
April 17, 2020 at 16:20 pm
During the coronavirus pandemic it may not be possible for service personnel or external engineering support to operate as normal. Options on exceptional flexibilities for maintenance and calibration during the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak
for manufacturers and GxP laboratories have been created in the following scenarios.
If an engineer is available to attend site
If an engineer cannot attend site but is available by either telephone or video call
If an engineer is not available to attend site and remote supervision is not possible
Substitution of laboratory equipment
April 17, 2020 at 16:10 pm
The Government will ensure exporters will get paid even where the private market is not able to offer insurance. The policy covers costs incurred if the export contract is terminated because the buyer defaults before the goods are delivered, or if the buyer fails to pay due to specified political, economic or administrative events.
Export Insurance Policy offers cover against the risk of:
Exporters taking out one of our export insurance policies receive:
To be eligible to take out an export insurance policy, the transaction must satisfy UKEF’s eligibility criteria, which includes, among others, the requirements that:
April 17, 2020 at 15:50 pm
Moving goods through customs during the coronavirus (COVID-19). To help stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), customs border processes have temporarily. This includes transit and export procedures.
April 17, 2020 at 15:30 pm
BSI has worked with international standards organizations to make these standards accessible for the purposes of organizations that are involved in the UK COVID-19 response.
Continuity and Resilience
April 17, 2020 at 15:30 pm
Innovate UK has launched a £20m competition looking for business-led innovation in response to global disruption, closing 17 Apr. Up to £50k/project. UK Businesses can apply for a share of £20m in a fast-track competition to develop new ways to tackle global disruption such as that caused by Covid-19.
April 03, 2020 at 09:10 am
British Chambers of Commerce resource detailing all current company support available in the UK, differentiates UK Gov support and other support available from devolved administrations also. Updated daily.
April 03, 2020 at 09:10 am
An updated overview of all the current COVID-19 related business support in across Scotland. Thanks to North Lanarkshire Council for providing such a comprehensive and concise overview.
April 03, 2020 at 14:15 pm
The Government has extended the CBILS so that all viable small businesses affected by COVID-19, and not just those unable to secure regular commercial financing, will now be eligible should they need finance to keep operating during this difficult time.
The government is also stopping lenders from requesting personal guarantees for loans under £250,000 and making operational changes to speed up lending approvals. The government will continue to cover the first twelve months of interest and fees.
April 03, 2020 at 10:15 am
Business Secretary Alok Sharma today announced that the rules on carrying over annual leave will be relaxed to support key industries during COVID-19.
Workers who have not taken all of their statutory annual leave entitlement due to COVID-19 will now be able to carry it over into the next 2 leave years.
March 30, 2020 at 13:30 pm
Chancellor Rishi Sunak announces Self-Employed Income Support Scheme support package to provide the same income support to the self-employed as furloughed employees.
The Chancellor announced major changes to the welfare system to now allow self-employed to access
To reduce social contact and help stop the spread of coronavirus, the UK Government has ordered certain businesses and venues to close. A list of these businesses can be found here. With the exception of these organisations, the Government has not required any other businesses to close – indeed it is important for business to carry on.
Where businesses continue to open, employers should take every possible step to facilitate their employees working from home. Certain jobs require people to travel to their place of work – for instance if they operate machinery, work in construction or manufacturing, or are delivering front line services. If your employees cannot work from home then they can still travel to work, provided they are well and no one in their household is self-isolating. This is consistent with advice from the Chief Medical Officer (CMO).
Employers who have people in their offices or onsite should ensure that employees are able to follow Public Health England guidelines including, where possible, maintaining a 2 metre distance from others, and washing their hands with soap and water often for at least 20 seconds (or using hand sanitiser gel if soap and water is not available).
March 19, 2020 11:30 am
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme from British Business Bank opens for applications today.
Managed by the British Bank, CBILS will be delivered through 40 accredited lenders, up to a maximum value of 5M per business, who receive a government-backed guarantee against outstanding facility balances. The Government will cover the first six months of interest payments and any facility arrangement fees charged by lenders, so businesses benefit from no upfront costs and lower initial repayments. The borrower remains 100% liable for the debt.
March 19, 2020 11:30 am
Bioindustry Association (BIA) Webinar and presentation gives an overview of current COVID 19 landscape, focus areas and potential funding opportunities. Potential sources of government support and position on key workers within Life Science SME’s.
March 19, 2020 11:30 am
March 19, 2020 11:30 am
The Chancellor has set out a package of temporary, timely and targeted measures to support public services, people and businesses through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19, which includes a package of measures to support businesses including:
Call the tax helpline on 0800 0159 559 and request a deferment for actual or imminent payments for PAYE, VAT, or Corporation Tax.
Companies we are speaking to are obtaining deferral of PAYE and NIC until future notice, currently, this must be requested from Gov.UK
If you want to pursue the option of an Emergency Business Loans, as announced this week, make immediate contact with your Bank Manager. The details have not yet been formally published yet, however, the information will be updated on the British Business Bank when ready.