Find out about some of the businesses Make It York has been supporting with signposting and guidance on funding support, and the impact receiving these funds will now have on their businesses.
Case Study: Perfecting Pilates
City of York Council Micro Business Grants Scheme
Perfecting Pilates is a fitness company run by sole trader Sarah Owen, focusing on providing pilates classes and one to one sessions to help clients with postural correction and rehabilitation. As a small business, the financial impact of the coronavirus outbreak was huge – resulting in Sarah having to pause the classes and look at ways to adapt her business and take it online.
Within a few days, Sarah created an online programme via Facebook and changed her pricing strategy to make the classes more affordable. Focusing on the needs of her clients and the community she had built up, Sarah created a range of online classes for all skill levels offering four online sessions for the price of one studio-based class. Offering these on a flexible basis, Sarah also focused on ensuring her clients continued to have the personal connection and quality service which had resulted in her winning ‘Pilates business of the year’ at the Leeds & West Yorkshire Prestige Awards, despite the programme now going virtual.
Support from Make It York helped Sarah to identify the funding which as a small business she would be eligible for and as a result Sarah received a Micro business grant from the City of York Council to help promote her business online. With digital marketing now being a major focus to reach new audiences online and raise the profile of the business, the grant has enabled Sarah to invest in Facebook advertising and gain exposure for her page to help attract new clients.
“The impact that the coronavirus outbreak has had on my business has been huge – I had to act really quickly to completely adapt my offering so that I could to continue to support my clients and create an online programme of activity in a matter of days. The help that Louise Saw, Business Growth Manager from Make It York provided has been so valuable – with advice on potential funding that I could apply for, and I was delighted to be awarded the £1,000 grant from City of York Council. This funding will enable me to promote my business online and reach new audiences via advertising which is a new area for me but one which is so important in this current climate. I have been so thrilled with how my clients have received the new online classes and the positive feedback I have received –and I look forward to building on this and developing my business further over the coming months.”
Owner of Perfecting Pilates
There is still time for eligible businesses to apply for the extended micro grant scheme, which has been created to support local businesses.
Grants payments between £1,000 and £10,000 will support small businesses, including those in shared offices and flexible work spaces, science parks and incubators, regular market traders without a business rates assessment, nurseries, B&Bs paying council tax instead of business rates, and charity properties which missed out under previous schemes are now eligible. Businesses have until 30 June to apply for the scheme.
To apply, businesses must have been trading before 11 March 2020, have a rateable value or annual mortgage of below £51,000, and demonstrate both an ongoing fixed property cost and significant financial impact of the coronavirus. It is not available to any business eligible for any other government COVID grant.