Hertfordshire tourism and hospitality businesses secure investment from COVID-19 emergency fund

A further four Hertfordshire businesses have secured funding from Crowdfund Hertfordshire: Small Business Innovation Fund, which supports businesses in the retail, tourism, hospitality, and other related sectors most impacted by COVID-19.

Bakerbee Bakery, DJ’s Soft Play, Eat Lunch and The Horn are the latest organisations to be awarded funding from the countywide scheme. They join Auriel Holidays, The Brewery Tap, Creative Juices Brewing Company, and Save Our Standon (Standon Calling Festival) whose successful applications were announced this summer. 

Between £2,000 and £5,000 in match funding is available for eligible small and micro businesses within the tourism, leisure, hospitality, retail, arts and cultural sectors from Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership’s £200,000 COVID-19 fund, administered by Visit Herts via the Crowdfunder Pay It Forward platform. 

Participating businesses are required to raise money for their project through pledges from their community and loyal customers. Once a business secures their target through their Crowdfunder campaign, successful applicants are able to unlock match-funding from the Hertfordshire LEP fund.

Nitin Dahad, Chair of Hertfordshire LEP’s Enterprise and Innovation Board, said: “Hertfordshire’s tourism, hospitality and visitor economy businesses are facing a tough winter season ahead. Those that have withstood the severe challenges and disruption caused by the pandemic to date will need support over the coming months to remain resilient, continue to adapt and innovate, and ultimately provide employment to local people. 

“This fund, part of our wider £3.28m COVID-19 business support package for the county, provides the investment needed to help small businesses persevere and grow, and we strongly urge all those that are eligible to apply.” 

The latest four businesses to secure match funding are: 

Bakerbee Bakery, Watford

As a small craft business, Bakerbee Bakery has seen success in supplying local cafes and markets with homemade, gluten-free and low FODMAP baked goods. The business is now looking to build its brand awareness by launching an online shop that will enable them to sell directly to customers and continue to trade throughout any further potential COVID-19 Government restrictions.

DJ’s Soft Play: Hemel Hempstead

Due to restrictions on indoor soft play venues, DJ’s Soft Play was forced to stay closed to the public for a much longer period than other leisure venues. The business is looking to adapt its offering to allow for the reopening of further areas, including its cafe and refreshment service, and increase demand by introducing new community facilities to support local parents and children, including a brand-new sensory area and equipment that can be booked online on an individual basis.  

Eat Lunch, Welwyn Garden City

Eat Lunch is a corporate catering company which, before lockdown, specialised in catering for a wide range of events county-wide, including business lunches and private events. The shift towards working from home in 2020 has had a significant effect on the company’s business model. Eat Lunch now plans to set up its own food production site, producing refreshments that will be available to order directly online, as well as promoted to their existing customers, local cafes, and shops. 

The Horn, St Albans

The Horn is a live performance and music venue that has been running for over 40 years. During lockdown, it was able to quickly adapt its business model to produce and sell merchandise through a brand new online shop. The business is now looking to expand its online operations and increase engagement with customers by creating a range of exciting new online content, including a YouTube channel featuring interviews with local musicians and a virtual hosting of its regular pub quiz. The Horn has already been successful in utilising funding support via the Music Venue Trust, and will be applying for the Government’s emergency funding for grassroots venues.

Luke Hinton, Promotion & Booking Manager for The Horn (St Albans), said: The Horn would like to thank Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership for the support that they’ve provided in these unprecedented times. This financial support has already enabled us to launch an online shop to sell venue branded merchandise and we have begun an online YouTube channel conducting interviews with musicians and music industry professionals.”

More information and how to apply, is available here.