York Restart fund aims to help small firms bounce back from pandemic

Bus operator First York has launched the York Restart Fund which provides £20,000 to help small businesses in retail, leisure and hospitality recover from the pandemic. .

Marc Bichtemann (centre) with Carolyn Frank and Simon Williams of FSB
Marc Bichtemann (centre) with Carolyn Frank and Simon Williams of FSB

The fund will support independent owners and small firms in consumer sectors which aim to grow their customer base as non-essential retail and hospitality re-opens in the coming weeks.

It has the support of the FSB (Federation of Small Businesses) in North Yorkshire. The York Restart Fund will make awards of £1,000 to 15 successful applicants with the remaining £5,000 shared between three businesses who come out on top in a people’s vote.

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Applications are open until, Friday 30 April 2021 with entries submitted on a dedicated page of the First York website.

The bus company has joined forces with the FSB to draw up the criteria for applying and how money from the fund should be used.

The FSB’s Regional chair, Simon Williams, who runs Yorkshire Express Services in York, and Development Manager Carolyn Frank will help in assessing and deciding successful entries in a panel including First York Managing Director, Marc Bichtemann.

Mr Bichtemann said: “Thriving, successful independent small businesses on the streets of the city and our outlying communities will be a vital and uplifting part of York’s recovery from lockdown. We want to help owners with ideas and plans as they re-open by giving them a financial boost to realise their ambitions.

“We are really pleased the FSB has joined us in launching the York Restart Fund. Its guidance in creating an easy application process to identify strong business ideas has been invaluable.”

Ms Frank said: “We are very excited about this generous offer from First York to local small businesses now reopening in the city and know that it will make a big difference. York is packed with great small businesses and traders serving the community, who are the heart of the city and its economy.

"This fund will help them get off to a flying start now that restrictions have been lifted and help York bounce back quickly.”

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