Motorway at night


Funding and useful resources

The Fibrus Community Fund – closes tomorrow

Don’t miss your chance to apply for the Fibrus Community Fund, giving the most vulnerable people in our area the chance to stay connected through technology.

Grants can be used on projects such as providing access to devices on a loan system, helping people get to grips with how to use technology, or even setting-up an internet café.

Further details can be found here

Service to check National Insurance contributions

HMRC and the Department for Work and Pensions have launched a digital service to help people check for and fill any gaps in their National Insurance record. The Check your State Pension forecast will show people by how much their state pension could increase and details of the voluntary contributions they would need to pay to achieve this.

Read more about the service here

Increase in thresholds for company size

From October 2024 monetary thresholds that determine company size are set to increase by 50%. This will affect non-financial reporting obligations for businesses of all sizes. The turnover threshold for micro-entities will increase from £632,000 to £1 million and the balance sheet total will increase from £316,000 to £500,000.

Read more about the increases here

Campaign to boost productivity and security

Vodafone Business has launched a new campaign to help small businesses access digital tools to boost productivity and security. Research carried out by Vodafone found that 46% of small and medium-sized businesses felt that they could increase profits and efficiency by making better use of digital tools.

Read more about the campaign here

Tool to help sole traders comply with tax change

HMRC has launched a tool for sole traders who will be affected by changes introduced under basis period reform. Under the changes all businesses will need to report their profits up to the end of the tax year, even if their accounting year ends on a different date. The tool will help sole traders complete their 2023/24 self-assessment tax return correctly.

The tool is available here

Small businesses to get access to Energy Ombudsman

Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees will be entitled to free support from the Energy Ombudsman to settle disputes with their energy suppliers. This is part of changes to tackle hidden fees, bill issues and being mis-sold services. Support will also be available for disputes with energy brokers. The changes are expected to come into force in Q4 this year.

Read more about the changes here

Unpaid carer’s leave

The Carers Leave Bill is now law, coming into force on the 6th  April – click here to find out more

Make it at Market – now casting for series 3

Want to turn your hobby into a business? Flabbergast TV are on the hunt for this years makers from blacksmiths and jewellers to woodworkers and potters. Dom and his team of mentors want to help you turn your passion into profit.

For more information and to apply, email

Have you developed an innovative health solution? Enter the Bright Ideas in Health Awards today!

Health innovators from the North East and North Cumbria are being urged to submit their bright ideas to an annual awards competition.

The Bright Ideas in Health Awards are now open for entries across ten categories, including awards that recognise: innovative devices; industry collaboration; clinical education; patient safety; innovation champions; digital innovation; sustainability; reduction of healthcare inequalities; women’s health; and research for local health needs.

Organised by the Health Innovation North East North Cumbria (HI NENC), the awards are open to individuals and teams from across the NHS, including those in primary and secondary care, universities, and regional businesses and organisations working within the health sector.

It’s free to enter and winners will receive a cash prize and support from innovation experts at the HI NENC to progress their ideas. The deadline for submissions is Wednesday, 31st July 2024. Finalists will be announced in October and invited to attend the awards ceremony on the 21st November 2024 at the Hilton Newcastle Gateshead.

To submit a bright idea, visit:

Could you sponsor the 2024 BECBC Awards?

There are a number of sponsor opportunities for the 2024 BECBC Awards – for more details or to secure your sponsorship contact Dianne Richardson –

Digital Dairy Chain – Collaborative R&D and Growth Funding competition

UK registered organisations can apply for a share of up to £1.1 million for business focussed innovation in advanced and high value dairy production and manufacturing. This funding is from Digital Dairy Chain for Cumbria, South and West Scotland.

Your project can focus on one or more of the following:

  • novel and high value products from dairy systems
  • decarbonising dairy production and manufacturing
  • waste minimisation and resource recirculation
  • reduced environmental impact and increased sustainability, for example, biodiversity, soil, air and water quality
  • sensor development and digitisation to improve productivity, welfare of staff and animals and product quality, including nutritional characteristics
  • value addition in the dairy supply chain

Your project’s total grant funding request must be between £50,000 and £250,000. To apply click here – applications close 11am on Wednesday 19th June.

Nominations open for this year’s In-Cumbria Business Awards

In-Cumbria are preparing for November’s awards ceremony and are launching this year’s categories.

Categories for this year are:

  • Robin Burgess Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Best diversity & inclusion business
  • Businessperson of the Year
  • Apprentice/trainee of the Year
  • Best large business
  • Best SME business
  • Best new business
  • Best family business
  • Best professional services company
  • Best green business
  • Best community involvement
  • Flying the Flag for Cumbria Award
  • Best marketeer

Businesses and individuals wishing to nominate themselves or someone else have until June 30 to get their entries in. To enter click here

Cumbria Chamber of Commerce considering nominees for this year’s Chamber Business Awards

As a Chamber we’re currently considering which Chamber members to nominate for this year’s Business Awards.

Categories for this year are:

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

Any Chamber member who feels they are worthy nominees can email to express an interest in any of the above categories.

King’s Award for Enterprise 2024 – Cumbrian successes

Congratulations to The Quiet Site and Createc Ltd who will be recipients of the King’s Award for Enterprise 2024. A total of 252 businesses have been recognised with the Award and we’d like to congratulate both businesses flying the flag for Cumbria.

Celebrate Reserves Day

Armed Forces Week is fast approaching and with it Reserves Day. This year we will be celebrating Reserves Day on Wednesday 26 June 2024.

Reservists give up their spare time to serve in the Reserve Forces, balancing their civilian life with a military career to ensure that should their country require them, they would be ready to serve as part of the military. As part of the wider Armed Forces Week the day was created to highlight and recognise the valuable contribution Reservists make to our Armed Forces.

Examples of how you can get involved include:

  • Join in with the digital campaign using the #ReservesDay and #SaluteOurForces hashtags to show your support on social media.
  • Use the Digital Toolkit available on the Armed Forces Day website to show your support on your internal and social media channels
  • Ask your reservists to share their thoughts on life as a reservist for internal and external communications such as intranet articles, blogs, videos or social media posts using the hashtags.
  • Host an internal event such as a lunch or tea for your reservists and colleagues, for example a lunch and learn where staff can find out more about life as reservist. Post images of the event on social media using the hashtags.
  • Encourage any reservists in your team to come in wearing uniform (if appropriate and safe to do so). Post images of them in their civilian role on social media using the hashtags

The Armed Forces Day website is filled with logos, imagery, event toolkits and social media banners which you can utilise to help show your support this Reserves Day.

Are you using Business Companion?

Did you know about the useful tool called business companion?

It’s a website where all the trading standards laws are explained simply. And it’s completely free to use! If you are unsure of any trading standards regulations, look at the free detailed guidance on this website: Business Companion