Motorway at night


Funding and useful resources


Cyber Action Plan

The National Cyber Security Centre has a free tailored Cyber Action Plan which will help to boost  your protection against cyber crime in under 5 minutes.

Click here to download the plan


New fund to address digital poverty

Full fibre broadband company Fibrus, who is currently rolling out their network in Cumbria, is delighted to announce its partnership with the Cumbria Community Foundation. This new fund, named the “Fibrus Community Fund Cumbria” aims to award funding to local communities in need of support.

The fund’s main goal is to support those experiencing digital poverty in rural areas, with a particular focus on grassroots organisations and community groups. Successful grants will be allocated to support on-the-ground digital technology projects which make key differences to communities, enhancing people’s lives and wellbeing. A particular focus will be placed on children, young people and older people who could benefit from digital support.

To learn more information or to apply to the fund, click here.


Rolls-Royce (GCAP) SME Innovation Challenge 2023

Rolls-Royce are looking for applications from Academia, start-ups and SMEs with four current areas of focus:

  1. Supply chain management – Technology applications such as IOT, Blockchain, AI/ML, data analytics to optimise planning, sourcing, manufacturing, and logistics
  2. Processes – streamlining back-office functions like Purchasing and Commercial to remove barriers and drop in solutions to connect up systems
  3. Net Zero – Technology to continually drive in Net Zero tech such as packaging, processes etc
  4. Collaboration – Technology to bring stakeholders together and resolve issues before they are baked into the solution

The Technology Themes that intersect with the business focus areas above are:

  • Industrial automation
  • Digital twins
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Industrial IoT
  • Additive (3D printing) manufacturing
  • Immersive technologies
  • Big data
  • Sustainable manufacturing
  • Augmented and mixed reality

Application deadline: 5th May 2023. For more details click here


Tender opportunity with Cumbria Tourism

Cumbria Tourism are seeking a designer to produce a new campaign concept for use over CT’s visitor destination marketing activity.

The concepts would likely be used across on-line platforms and printed guides to social media, owned campaigns and potentially agency-delivered out of home externally funded campaigns.

To view full details click here


Looking to begin your next career chapter?

Are you looking for a career change, or do you need help returning to work? Inspira can help you use your skills and experience to find the perfect role!

Inspira is hosting a FREE over 50’s session that covers:

  • Transferable skills identifying strengths and weaknesses
  • CV review making the most of your experience
  • Interview skills
  • An overview of the ICT skills required to undertake an online job search effectively
  • Money and planning for retirement
  • How personal presentation can affect confidence
  • Managing a health condition

Course venue: Inspira, Workington

Induction date: 17th April.

This six day course runs from 10am to 3pm on 20th, 21st, 27th & 28th April and 4th & 5th May

To book your place or find out more call 0345 658 8647.


Know your neighbourhood fund

Cumbria Community Foundation have announced a partnership with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to distribute over £1million of the Know your Neighbourhood Fund over the next two years. The money will support initiatives in Barrow that can help to boost volunteering and tackle loneliness, help participants improve their mental and physical wellbeing, develop new skills and form social connections.

For more information click here


£150 million Community Ownership Fund

This fund has been set up to help UK communities take ownership of assets at risk of closure. It will run for four years until 2024/25 and voluntary and community organisations can bid for match funding.

To find out more click here


Community Climate Champion (Volunteer)

Would you like to be a community climate champion and be part of the drive for Cumbria to reach net zero carbon by 2037?

Perhaps you are looking for an entry route into a green career, or want to raise and embed addressing climate change into the agenda of your local parish council?

Would you like to increase your knowledge of climate science, solutions and practical actions CAfS can take you through a package of free training?

Would you like to help drive the implementation of the Copeland People’s Panel recommendations – ensuring green priorities set by Copeland residents are carried out?

Would you like to support the new drive to generate more climate action in West Cumbria through the new ‘Westogether’ initiative?

With support from CAfS, would you be willing to hold events (discussion groups, film nights, quizzes) to share your knowledge and enthusiasm with others?

– If you’re thinking ‘yes’ to the above, you could be just who CAfS looking for!

You’ll receive training to deliver these sessions in your community, including a 1 day comprehensive, accredited Carbon Literacy training course. Plus you’ll have the full support of our Community Climate Champions Coordinator. CAfS also hope to arrange a one day Zero Carbon Britain training (Centre for Alternative Technology) as an optional extra for those who wish to attend.

This is a fantastic opportunity for community climate volunteers to develop new skills, as well as bringing benefits to your community and playing a really important part in tackling climate change.

For more details click here


Law affecting business tenants to be reviewed

The Law Commission of England and Wales has announced that it will review the key piece of legislation affecting business tenants who lease shops, offices and other commercial premises. Under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 tenants have the right to a new lease after their existing one has run out, known as security of tenure. The review will explore problems with the existing law with a view to developing a modern legal framework that will help businesses to grow and communities to thrive.

Read more about the review here


New Bill to modernise business rates system in England

A new Bill has been introduced to support businesses in England by modernising the business rates system and incentivising property improvements. The Non-Domestic Rating Bill will introduce more frequent valuations and new business rates improvement relief. This would make it easier for businesses to invest and provide tax breaks for those who are extending or upgrading their property.

Read more about the Bill here


Self-assessment taxpayers to be moved to digital filing

Paper forms for the self-assessment tax return will not be available to download from HMRC’s website from 6 April 2023. HMRC will contact almost 135,000 taxpayers who currently file paper self-assessment tax returns to tell them that they will need to phone HMRC if they require a paper form.

Read more about the change here


Apprentice cap for small businesses scrapped

From April 2023, the cap on apprentice numbers for small businesses has been scrapped. Small businesses that don’t pay the Apprenticeship Levy were limited to a maximum of ten apprenticeship starts. The Government has scrapped the cap to give smaller employers certainty over funding, and ensure they have access to the apprentices they need to fill skills gaps and grow their businesses.

Read more about the cap here


Campaign to help businesses reduce energy bills

A campaign to help businesses, charities and public sector bodies increase their energy efficiency has been launched by the Government. The campaign, targeted at small and medium-sized businesses, will offer guidance on how organisations can make significant savings while cutting emissions.

Read more about the campaign here


Grant funding: Digital Dairy Chain: collaborative R&D and growth

UK registered organisations can apply for a share of up to £2 million for business focused collaborative research and development (R&D) innovation in advanced and high value dairy production and manufacturing.

This competition is open to collaborations only.

To lead a project your organisation must be:

  • either a UK registered business or a UK farming business
  • able to evidence that you are an established business, including sole traders and partnerships
  • based in Cumbria, south or west Scotland or carry out significant economic activity in that region

The fund opens on 17th April and closes on 31st May – to find out more click here


Northern Powerhouse Export Awards are open and accepting nominations

Brought to you by UMi, in association with the Department for Business and Trade, the Awards will shine a spotlight on the export success stories from the past year. Inspiring and championing businesses no matter where they are on their exporting journey.

There are 11 categories available, including the night’s prestigious Northern Powerhouse Exporter of the Year award. As a successful nomination, you will:

🏆 Get recognised as one of the North’s leading exporters.

🎙️ Raise your profile by featuring in the UK-wide campaign

🤝 Join a community of like-minded entrepreneurs and export enthusiasts.

🥳 Celebrate your success with the team at our Celebration Event.

Nominate Your Business Today

Nominations close 21st April 2023


Majority of lockdown start-ups still trading

Research by Barclays has revealed that 28% of people in the UK have started a new small business or found a way to supplement their income since March 2020. The majority (86%) of those who started a new venture are still running their small business, with 34% saying it has become their main source of income. Popular start-ups included cleaning, online tutoring, translation services, baking, cat-sitting, jewellery making and online fitness classes.

Read more about the research here


Plan to help local businesses revitalise high streets

Businesses and local communities will be helped to take control of empty shops on high streets, as part of plans to revitalise high streets and tackle anti-social behaviour. Local authorities will receive new powers through High Street Rental Auctions to take control of empty buildings, giving communities and local businesses the opportunity to bid for the chance to rent shops. A new £2.5 million High Street Accelerator programme will also be introduced to incentivise local businesses and communities to develop a long-term vision for revitalising high streets.

Read more about the plans here


Opportunity for small businesses to win a place on Oxford Street

Want to showcase your business on Oxford Street?

Enter the Small Business Goes Big competition by Enterprise Nation and Adobe to win a spot in a pop-up shop on the UK’s busiest shopping street.

To enter, create a simple page with Adobe Express sharing your business story and telling why you deserve to win.

Learn more and enter by 24 April:



Leading Digital Transformation programme through Made Smarter

Does your business have the skills it needs for digital transformation? 

  • Do you know what digital tools are available and accessible for your manufacturing business?
  • Do you understand the opportunities that digital technology has for your business and how these tools can help?
  • Do you struggle to motivate your people to adopt digital technology tools?

This funded programme will enable you to become a digitally informed, empowered leader and know how to prepare and lead your business to make the most of opportunities that digital transformation can offer.
The leading digital transformation programme is designed to get managers and senior leaders in the industry prepared to lead their manufacturing businesses to make the most of opportunities that digital transformation can offer.

Click here to find out more


Violence and aggression at work can have a serious impact on your workers physical and mental health

Protect your workers from violence and aggression

HSE has refreshed its guidance on violence at work to help you protect your workers. It has been updated to:

  • simplify the navigation to help you easily find the information you need
  • remove outdated content and replace it with up-to-date practical guidance
  • remind you that HSE’s definition of violence includes aggression, such as verbal abuse or threats – this can be face to face, online or over the phone

The guidance will help you assess the risks, put the right controls in place to protect workers and report incidents and learn from them.
There’s also specific guidance on how to support your workers after a violent incident. There are also examples drawn from typical situations.
Separate advice for workers, explains how they can help employers prevent violent incidents at work.


Calling innovators in personal mobility solutions for an ageing population: £50k – £70k funding opportunity

Do you have an inspirational, life-enhancing idea, prototype, or plan to reimagine how personal mobility options in the UK can better support a rapidly ageing population to stay connected, active, and independent for longer?

If so, we want to hear from you!  Submit an application to Design Age Institute’s new Mobility Pathfinder Innovation Programme, with between £50k – £70k available per project.

Funded by Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, Design Age Institute’s Mobility Pathfinder Innovation Programme invites innovators, businesses and entrepreneurs from across the UK to propose personal mobility solutions at ideation stage or beyond, that are commercially viable, demonstrate creativity and innovation, and can be supported towards market by investment in good design.

Maintaining personal mobility is essential to preventing loss of ability and ensuring we can live independently and stay connected as we age.

There is a pressing need for innovation and scalable approaches that can meet the increasing demand for multiple transport options that are safe, affordable, sustainable and desirable.

Whether on foot, wheels or tracks, good design has the potential to help transform how we socialise, work, and navigate the cities, towns, offices, neighbourhoods and homes of our future selves.

Find out more and apply here – applications close at 12noon on Monday 15th May.


UK Space Agency Accelerator launches Leo and Geo programmes

Entrepreneurs keen to scale up their business at pace within the UK’s flourishing space industry are encouraged to apply for the UK Space Agency Accelerator’s Leo and Geo programmes.

Leo and Geo, launched by Dr Paul Bate, CEO of UK Space Agency at the Ignite Space event in Bristol, are part of the UK Space Agency Accelerator’s suite of bespoke programmes aimed at supporting entrepreneurs at various levels of their space journey.

Delivered by industry experts from Entrepreneurial Spark and Exotopic, with specialist partners, the Leo and Geo programmes will support 90 entrepreneurs across three cohorts with a business boost through specialist coaching, network opportunities and business support to scale their businesses at pace.

Both programmes involve six months of deep, strategic 1:1 support and challenge from entrepreneurial growth experts and technical commercialisation mentors. The programmes include regular bespoke action-learning with peers to make the experience as collaborative as possible.

Leo is targeted at entrepreneurs with some level of business traction and customers in the space sector or using space technology. It will allow entrepreneurs to deepen their understanding of the space industry and provide guidance to fundamentally change the way they grow and lead their business.

Geo will support ambitious entrepreneurs on their journey to becoming stronger leaders and encourage them to spend time on areas that will deliver impact to their business. It is aimed at entrepreneurs with businesses with significant commercial traction in the space sector, with either £500k+ in funding or £500k annualised revenue.

And it’s not just entrepreneurs already operating in the space sector who are encouraged to apply for the Leo and Geo programmes. Providing that space technology, such as satellite data or support infrastructure, is being used applications are welcome from leaders working in a related industry, such as agritech, health, life sciences, software or tech industries.

To find out more about the UK Space Agency Accelerator and to apply visit


The Department for Business and Trade has launched a new Help to Grow website, including guidance for export-facing companies.