DD2233 Growth Hub: Business support to small businesses

Type of decision: 
Director's decision
Date signed: 
28 March 2018
Decision by: 
Fiona Fletcher-Smith, Executive Director of Development, Enterprise and Environment

Executive summary

As part of the London Growth Hub initiative it is proposed that the Greater London Authority (GLA) provide a further £65,000 to Portobello Business Centre (PBC) to deliver tailored 1-2-1 business support to those small businesses affected by the Grenfell Tower fire.

The funding proposed is additional to £250,000 of emergency grants already provided by the Greater London Authority (GLA), the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC).


That the Executive Director of Development, Enterprise and Environment approves expenditure by way of grant funding of £65,000 (from the London Growth Hub 2017/18 grant from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) as a contribution to Portobello Business Centre’s costs of providing tailored 1-2-1 business support to small businesses affected by the Grenfell Tower fire.

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

Eight months ago, the events at Grenfell Tower took place. In the aftermath, it was identified that 85 local businesses were significantly affected by the fire with loss of trade and economic challenges.

After the fire the Greater London Authority (GLA), the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) made £250,000 funding available to support the local affected businesses. Whilst some of this funding has yet to be paid due to outstanding evidence requests, to date approximately £140,000 has been distributed between 22 local businesses.

Since then, PBC has indicated that 85 local businesses remain seriously affected by the following:

• Loss of trade (30-70% downturn largely due to reduced footfall) – approximately 1,000 people have been removed from the local area (this includes 650 surviving residents from Grenfell Tower and residents from nearby estates as well as 350 students from the local Academy). In addition, a reduction in transitory visitors and visiting business trade deepens the loss of footfall and customers.
• Staff difficulties – business owners and staff who are working in such close proximity to the Tower are suffering from trauma and stress. Recruitment for new staff is proving virtually impossible.
• A community still experiencing trauma – with the on-going police investigation into the disaster, the after effects of the tragedy remain, affecting not just the local residents, but also the wider community.
• Lack of premises – businesses and the self-employed which operated out of Grenfell have been unable to work or without workspace since June 2017.
• Road closures – whilst the Tower remains in place, the area is subjected to unannounced road closure as cranes and similar equipment are moved onto the site. These continue to cause disruption to business deliveries.

In order to assess the long-term viability of these businesses, and identify any additional support they may require, this decision proposes that £65,000 be provided to PBC in order to deliver this one to one support to the 85 affected businesses. While these assessments take place, the Mayor is urging banks and utility companies to withhold from taking any action against these businesses if they default on payments. As part of this he has also written individual letters to the CEOs of banks used by the affected businesses asking for a moratorium on their loans and debts. A press release was issued on Thursday 15 March 2018 highlighting the Mayor’s actions to keep supporting local affected businesses.

Objectives and expected outcomes

The £65,000 funding will allow PBC to work with each individual business, identify their challenges and tailor the business support to each of the participant businesses.

The funding provided is predicated on the basis that it will fund 10 hours of support for each of the 85 businesses affected. However, the number of hours and type of support they will receive will depend on the individual needs of each business. If the total number of hours of support required is less than the funding provided, PBC will be required to seek the GLA’s agreement to any reuse of funds to undertake specific business support activity identified through the needs assessment work.

Once the business support needs have been identified, the GLA will work with PBC, RBKC, other business support providers, corporates and central government to identify funding and pro-bona support to deliver the additional work. Businesses will also be directed to existing support offers through the Growth Hub.

It is expected that after the needs assessment and any subsequent business support, the 85 businesses will be able to re-establish themselves in their community or make alternative plans for what the future should look like for their enterprises.

Outputs (e.g. hours of support, number of businesses supported) will be reported to BEIS as part of the Growth Hub’s existing reporting regime. We will also aim to capture outcomes through qualitative and quantitative evaluation once interventions have been put into place and appropriate time allowed to ensure any impact has been realised.

Equality comments

PBC, as the recipient of funding will be required to outline how it will take into consideration the needs of the local community with particular emphasis of those running and employed by the micro and small businesses affected by the aftermath effects of the fire.

The project will embrace London’s diversity and in particular the area affected by the Grenfell where there is a wide range of residents and businesses from diverse backgrounds. PBC, as the recipient will be required, in its delivery of the project, to consider the needs of all the individuals and have due regard to their particular needs, including those with protected characteristics, and report on the same when making claims.

The project will be exploring wider community-led partnership developments which look to provide needs analysis and a whole community wide support process. The project will be providing support for existing businesses to generate growth within the area’s economy and new employment and business opportunities.

Other considerations

The project links with the section on Creating conditions for Growth in the Mayor’s draft Economic Development Strategy which aims to support London SMEs to grow and expand. In this particular case, the funding will allow them to provide specific support in very challenging times.

The main risk to the success of the projects would be that despite the business support, some of the enterprises are forced to re-consider their business proposition or location. But with the tailored support, PBC will ensure that the needs of each business are addressed.

Financial comments

5.1 & Industrial Strategy).

Activity table



Signing Grant Agreement letter

20 March 2018

Delivery Start Date

April 2018

End delivery project

September 2018

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