Wider external context

Wider External Context - supporting businesses through challenging times

A series of unprecedented external events and circumstances have occurred during the lifetime of Invest to Grow, during which the programme continued to deliver consistent support to businesses. This provision, alongside the proactive and flexible response by the programme to these circumstances, enabled many businesses to increase their resilience and overcome key challenges.  

Specific external circumstances and events are shown below, along with examples of how Invest to Grow sought to help businesses overcome these, or to mitigate their negative impacts:

2016 - UK Steel Crisis - Invest to Grow broadened its geographical coverage to include the North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire local authority areas, where many steel and metal-based businesses are based;

2020 - Brexit / Covid-19 pandemic - Proactive response to Covid-19 by approaching businesses to discuss the potential for loan repayment holidays, and subsequently providing the programme team with delegated authority to approve loan repayment holidays of up to six months from March 2020

2022 - War in Ukraine / Economic crash associated with Truss Government - The programme incorporated an additional section within its Full Application Form enabling applicants to explain impacts resulting from external market factors and how the programme could assist to overcome these.

2023 - Major changes to UK business support funding landscape - Although the average value of applications fell because of the external challenges and the reducing availability of programme funding, the volume of applications remained broadly consistent. Feedback indicated that funding was increasingly used to improve efficiency and productivity – often in recognition of the challenges faced. This helped businesses to become more resilient. Other examples of the programme enabling greater resilience included improving businesses’ capacity to hold more stock, the implementation of modern equipment, and increased energy efficiency (offsetting energy price rises).