The Coronavirus pandemic is fast shaping up to be the challenge that defines us personally and professionally. The tech industry like many others is facing huge challenges, but it also has a huge part to play in the fight against a once-in-a-century pandemic. Over the coming months, technological involvement in keeping services going, keeping businesses afloat and keeping people alive will be essential, impactful and exponential.
At Coadec, we’ll be making sure you are up to date with information from the Government, highlighting advice and guidance, and pushing for the best support for the ecosystem possible from the Government. You’ll also probably hear from us via this list more frequently than usual – and it goes without saying that if you have any issues, questions or queries please do get in touch with me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
HOW CAN YOU HELP WITH THE RESPONSE?
To combat the the coronavirus outbreak, the Government is looking to collaborate with startups who might be able to lend support and expertise in the following:
If you can help with vaccines: Nervtag@phe.gov.uk
If you are able to support in the manufacture of ventilators: email@example.com
For any broader support or ideas to help with the response on innovation or tech : DNHSX@nhsx.nhs.uk
You might recall that in our last mailshot we highlighted the European Commission’s funding scheme for startups that could help in treating, testing, monitoring or other aspects of the Coronavirus outbreak. This has now been extended until Friday 20 March at 5pm.
If you’re a startup with an innovative solution, then get your application in!
WHAT SUPPORT IS THERE FOR STARTUPS?
If you need advice and guidance, there are a number of great resources that will allow you to stay up to date with the latest advice from the Government to the sector, including details of Government support for startups:
Enterprise Nation’s coronavirus support hub outlines the support schemes for small business, and advice on how to keep trading through the epidemic, and
Tech Nation has put together a useful blog for the tech sector.
Based on our many conversations over the past few days – the number one concern of companies in this period is having the cashflow to survive the choppy business conditions. We’ve been in close discussions with the Government to ensure that there is enough liquidity to help startups get through the difficult times ahead.
Although the Chancellor recently announced a £330bn stimulus package, the solutions being offered by the Government so far aren’t targeted enough to help startups for two reasons:
Rates Relief won’t help. Startups are much less likely than average to pay business rates as they are often either subletting or in coworking spaces.
Loan financing isn’t usually an option. Even with Government loan guarantees – startup business models don’t lend themselves well to loans, since they are lossmaking and often don’t qualify.
We will continue to work with the Government and investors on a solution that enables startups to access bridging capital to help them through this crisis. We’ll update you when we have more information.
We have heard from companies that there is also a need for more targeted support to ensure that the ecosystem continues to function.
At Coadec, we understand that there are a wide range of areas where support might be required – from childcare costs to mortgage relief. But we are best placed to communicate your concerns about how this pandemic will impact your business and the wider ecosystem more generally so do let us know.
We still need to have input in more specific areas – what support do you need or will you need?
For example, we are pushing for co-working spaces to be given a holiday from Business Rates for next year. Given their importance to the ecosystem, and the fact that many of them will either be mandated to close during the coronavirus pandemic, it is vital that the Government extends the rates holiday to co-working spaces nationwide.
We will continue to communicate more specific concerns to Government in order to ensure that the ecosystem is protected.