Coronavirus Update — 3 June

It's the start of a new month and also of a new phase of lockdown. Most of us will be eager to meet up with friends and family if we can do so safely, and some of us will also be going back to work. This will likely involve lots of preparation and may alter the way your business is run. But we are here to help, with useful information and events that are designed to assist you with skills you need. See our Events page for more information on upcoming learning sessions, or keep reading for the latest news:

Changes to the Furlough Scheme: From 1 July 2020, businesses will be have the flexibility to bring furloughed employees back to work part time and will be responsible for paying their wages while in work. From August 2020 the amount of government grant provided will be tapered, dropping to 70% in September and 60% in October. The scheme will close to new entrants on 30 June. Find out more here. Extension of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme: Those eligible under the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme will be able to claim a second and final grant in August, worth 70% of their average monthly trading profits. This will cover three months’ worth of profits—capped at a total of £6,570—and will be paid out in a single instalment. Find out more here.

National Volunteers Week: Running from 1-7 June this year, National Volunteers Week is an annual celebration of the contributions millions of volunteers make across the UK. If you would like to join in by giving something back to your community, you could consider volunteering your time to help others by becoming a GrowBiz mentor—someone who can provide support and guidance to a fellow business owner in need of expanding their horizons. Find out more here. Scottish Enterprise, Getting Back to Work: Clare Alexander, Head of Business Models and Workplace Innovation at Scottish Enterprise, outlines steps your business can take to go from survival to growth as lockdown measures are eased, including a Return To Work Planning Checklist, here.

Scottish Rural Action Survey: Scottish Rural Action are looking for an insight into how your community is responding to the coronavirus crisis and would like to hear your views on what would strengthen its economy and wellbeing. The survey takes about eight minutes and will be repeated every four weeks. Take it here.

GrowBiz AGM: The GrowBiz trustees held their annual AGM on Thursday 20th May. It had been the intention to incorporate this with a GrowBiz monthly networking meeting but due to the current lockdown this wasn't possible. Once we are able to gather again in larger groups the trustees plan to attend future Xchange meetings to give clients the opportunity to meet and network with them.

The AGM included the annual report by Chair of Trustees Ian McCormick with updates and a summary of all that has been achieved as a charity and a board over the last 12 months. He congratulated the GrowBiz team on the flexible and responsive support they continue to deliver to clients particularly during the last three challenging months. Business matters included the approval of accounts and in line with the articles a third of the Trustees. Euan Walker and Sarah Brown stepped down and both were re-elected. We are currently recruiting for new trustees to the board from rural Scotland, and in particular seeking individuals with a background funding/finance or a knowledge of the rural economy and enterprise. If you are interested in joining as a volunteer trustee and providing strategic support and guidance to GrowBiz, please visit our website here or contact

Local News:

GrowBiz Client Makes Her Podcasting Debut: GrowBiz client Lucy Proctor has appeared on a new Scottish business podcast, Sustainable Scotland At Work. Lucy was interviewed about her experience developing her environmentally friendly business idea to turn Scotland's constant supply of dog mess into green energy. Lucy talks about how she came upon the idea and what help she has received along the way; GrowBiz gets a lovely shout out. The podcast is a new venture by one of GrowBiz's own marketing team, Fiona Murray. She met Lucy at one of the GrowBiz XChange events and thought she would be a perfect fit for the podcast's audience. If you would like to listen to Lucy's episode or to follow Fiona's podcast, click here to listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts or Stitcher.

Local Catering Business Italba is Whipping Things Up: Due to the pandemic, GrowBiz client and private chef Nelson Reposo, based in Comrie, found all his bookings cancelled or postponed in a matter of a few days. What made this even harder was that he’d just finished refurbishing his kitchen and dining space. But there was a way forward. Nelson explains: “I had to consider what I could do being a chef with professional kitchen. With the help of my wife, we set up a food delivery menu of fresh handmade pasta using also local products from local suppliers.

“The original plan was to have just enough business to pay the expenses, but the interest and feedback has been so great since the beginning creating more demand week after week, at the point that I have to purchase kitchen equipment to be able to cope with the demand.

“All this gave me an alternative business idea in this unpredictable time, which is working well and gives me professional satisfaction, and I am also considering keeping it going and possibly growing it in the future.”

Contactless ordering and payment can be made via the Italba website here.

As always, if you need support in applying for funding, adapting your business or chatting through your challenges with an experienced and friendly advisor then please feel free to get in touch.