Motorway at night


Funding and useful resources – April 2024

Barclays AI bridge programme

Generative artificial intelligence (generative AI) can create text, images, types of data, or other media from existing content, using prompts. There has been a lot of discussion about new AI-based tools such as ChatGPT and how they could transform our world.

This programme is designed to help both startups and established businesses understand the different approaches to collaboration, and disruptive innovation in generative AI so they can harness the potential for greater productivity.

To find out more click here

Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund II launched

The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund has now completed its investment phase and is transitioning to the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund II which launched on the 21st March 2024.

The new Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund II builds on the success of the first fund and will deliver £660m of investment to growing companies offering a range of commercial finance options with smaller loans and debt finance from £25,000 to £2 million and equity investment up to £5 million.

Click here to find out more

Skills & employability plan now available

All Together Cumbria have recently launched their fresh skills and employability plan to help tackle major workforce challenges facing the county.

The plan outlines the programmes they’ll be delivering alongside partners throughout 2024 to address the major issues of a declining working age population and acute skills shortage in disciplines that are key to the success and growth of Cumbria’s economy.

Click here to read the plan in full

Government to pay apprenticeship training costs

From April 2024, the Government will fully fund apprenticeships in small businesses by paying the full cost of training for anyone up to the age of 21. From April, the Government will also increase the amount of funding that employers who are paying the Apprenticeship Levy can pass on to other businesses.

Click here to read more about the measures

HMRC helpline changes halted

HMRC has announced that the six-month closure of its self-assessment, VAT and PAYE helplines will be halted while it considers how best to help taxpayers use online services. HMRC will engage with stakeholders, including small businesses, to ensure all taxpayers’ needs are met.

Read more about the change here

Change to thresholds that determine company size

The Government has announced new measures to simplify both non-financial and financial reporting for small and medium-sized businesses. The measures include increasing the number of companies which qualify as a small or medium-sized business through a 50% uplift to the thresholds that determine a company’s size.

Read more about the measures here

Last call for proposals to operate The Rum Story Café

The deadline for proposals to operate The Rum Story Café is 1pm on Tuesday 23rd April.

Any potential tenants are recommended to contact The Rum Story to arrange a viewing – or call 01946 592933.

The Chamber Business Awards are back again for 2024

Launching later this month, the Chamber Business Awards for 2024 have five new categories focusing on the biggest challenges and opportunities the country is facing.

  • Green Innovation
  • People and Work
  • Local Economy of the Future
  • Global Britain
  • Digital Revolution

Keep an eye out for further details coming soon – it would be great to have some entries from Cumbria Chamber members.