First York launches £20,000 fund to boost eco-friendly sales for small businesses

York Go-Greener Fund will make single awards of £2,000 to support growth ideas.

First York has launched the York Go-Greener Fund with £20,000 available to help small businesses in retail, leisure and hospitality encourage eco-friendly high street spending and boost customer-led sustainable growth.

The purpose of the fund is to support plans by independent owners and small firms in consumer sectors to build on environmental practices and products that directly appeal to customers, helping them to consider sustainable choices in what they buy and the services they use.

It has the support of the FSB (Federation of Small Businesses) in North Yorkshire and the York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub.

The York Go-Greener Fund will make awards of £2,000 to 10 successful applicants. Videos showcasing these businesses will then go to a people’s vote with the winner getting the chance to be featured in a film about the region’s sustainable achievements and businesses which is being made by York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub (and includes a contribution by Sir David Attenborough).

Applications are open until 31 May 2022, with entries submitted on a dedicated page of the First York website. Click here to learn more and apply.

The bus company has teamed up with the FSB and the York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub to draw up the criteria for applying and how money from the Fund should be used. The FSB’s Development Manager Carolyn Frank and Sue Jefferson, Chair of the Business Board at York & North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership, will help in assessing and deciding successful entries in a panel including First York Managing Director, Ian Humphreys.

He said: “Thriving, successful independent small businesses on the streets of the city and our outlying communities will always be essential to York’s prosperity. We know one of the challenges for them and others of all sizes, is how to achieve growth at the same time as helping to reduce the carbon footprint of operations and customers to meet regional and national environmental targets.

“Sustainability in products and services is increasingly valued by customers and we want to help small business owners by giving them a financial boost to build on what they’re doing and put new plans into action.

“We are really pleased the FSB and the York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub have joined us in launching the York Go-Greener Fund. Their guidance in creating a simple application to understand and identify strong business ideas on sustainability has been invaluable.”

Ian added: “I would encourage York’s small business owners to get thinking how the Fund could help them and submit an entry quickly. There is not long to get applications in as we want to be able to make the awards in June so they can get started as soon as possible.”

Sue Jefferson is Chair of the Business Board at York & North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership, which coordinates the York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub. She said: “Having a sustainable business model makes sense. Employees, shareholders and customers want businesses to be actively tackling environmental issues. This initiative is in line with York and North Yorkshire’s ambitions to become the UK’s first carbon negative region, and will showcase new ideas on how local businesses can achieve a greener, fairer and stronger future.”

To learn more about the Go-Greener Fund, visit First York’s website.

If you want to learn more about funding and business support in York and North Yorkshire, the Growth Hub can help. Contact us online or call Faye on our Helpdesk for free on 0800 246 5045.

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