BELFAST CHAMBER WELCOMES CONFIRMATION OF HARDSHIP FUND TO HELP MICRO BUSINESSES

Belfast Chamber Chief Executive Simon Hamilton has welcomed confirmation by the Economy Minister Diane Dodds MLA of a £40 million Hardship Fund to help micro businesses struggling to deal with the impact of COVID-19 who have not been eligible for the Executive’s £10,000 or £25,000 grants.  The organisation which represents over 500 businesses in Belfast had been lobbying the Executive to introduce a fund to assist businesses who had been missing out.

Welcoming the announcement, Simon Hamilton said, “This is a positive announcement by the Minister and will be welcomed by many Belfast Chamber members and other businesses across Northern Ireland who have thus far been unable to avail of the Executive’s £10,000 and £25,000 grants.  The grants schemes have helped thousands of businesses who are feeling the negative effects of COVID-19 but thousands more have fallen through gaps which have left them without any support at all.  Amongst those missing out were start-ups and entrepreneurs just getting going in business and who will be so important to the future of our economy.  This Hardship Fund is something which Belfast Chamber has been suggesting to the Minister for some time and spoke to her directly about in recent weeks.  We are glad that she and her Executive colleagues have listened and responded positively  I hope that this support can quickly get to where it is needed and assist those micro businesses who will qualify”.