Kickstart jobs scheme

The government has introduced a new Kickstart Scheme, a £2 billion fund to create hundreds of thousands of high quality 6-month work placements aimed at young people (aged 16 to 24) who are on Universal Credit and are deemed to be at risk of long term unemployment. Find out more here.

Funding is available for each job to cover 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, plus the associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions. There is also £1,500 per job placement available for setup costs, support and training.

Direct applications must be for a minimum of 30 job placements. If you are able to offer a smaller number of Kickstart job placements, which we suspect will be the reality for the majority of companies in north-west London, please e-mail, as West London Business will help to form groups of job placements across a number of employers. To show your support for the scheme you can use these resources.

New support for small businesses – small business leadership programme and peer networks

The Small Business Leadership Programme supports senior leaders to enhance their business’s resilience and recovery from the impact of COVID-19. It helps small and medium-sized businesses to develop their potential for future growth and productivity.

Participants will develop strategic leadership skills and the confidence to make informed decisions to boost business performance.

The fully-funded 10 week programme will be delivered online by small business and enterprise experts from world-leading business schools.

The Small Business Leadership Programme is being delivered by a consortium of business schools accredited by the Small Business Charter (SBC), and supported by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.

Peer Networks is a peer-to-peer networking programme for SMEs that is delivered locally by the network of Growth Hubs across England.

We create diverse cohort groups of individuals to collaboratively work through common business issues. Through interactive action learning, we enable you to discuss your own challenges, gain and reflect on valuable feedback and implement practical solutions to overcome them.

From finance and HR to sales, marketing and more, our expert facilitators give you the flexibility to create a trusted support network that works for you, helping you to build and strengthen your business and improve its overall performance.

Who is it for?

Peer Networks is designed for business leaders who want to grow and develop their organisation for future success.

The programme is available to any SME business that has:

  • Operated for at least one year
  • At least five employees
  • A turnover of at least £100,000
  • An aspiration to improve

And ideally has the potential to scale up or export or is exporting already.

The programme

Peer Networks is delivered through a series of virtual high impact group sessions, with a trained facilitator.

The programme includes:

  • Action oriented learning
  • Trained facilitators
  • Small groups
  • Flexible topic selection
  • One to one coaching


Businesses that seek external advice or undertake formal training are more likely to improve their overall performance, but many prefer to take advice from trusted sources, such as their peers, when presented with external challenges and opportunities.

Peer Networks enables you to make connections that go far beyond networking.

By completing Peer Networks, you will:

  • Overcome business challenges and recognise and act on new opportunities
  • Build a trusted network of connections to support you now and in the future
  • Improve your long-term personal and business performance

Build your Peer Network today.

Fill in our enquiry form and a representative of your local Growth Hub will get in touch soon to let you know when cohorts will begin in your area as the programme is rolled out.

Mayor launches £1m fund to help small businesses and community groups

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has pledged to help London’s small businesses and community groups not simply to recover from the current coronavirus crisis, but to ensure they’re better prepared for future emergencies.

Sadiq’s new £1m fund will help the small firms across our high streets and London’s many local community groups to keep up with the accelerated pace of change after the pandemic and to improve their own resilience to future shocks.

Businesses, social enterprises and community groups will be matched with innovators who will help them find new ways of delivering their products and services in these new circumstances. Grants of up to £50,000 will be available to support designing and testing these innovations.

Examples of innovations that could receive support from the fund range from new forms of data capture and digital infrastructure (for example to support the operational resilience of businesses) to ways of using data and technology to identify and address vulnerabilities in supply chains, local food or energy production.

Organisations which make the best use of data and technology have been shown to have greater sustainability during times of crisis.

The London Resilience Fund, supported by the London Enterprise Action Partnership, is the latest part of the Mayor’s plan to help London’s small businesses and local communities survive and thrive after the pandemic. Yesterday the Mayor announced he would use £1m to match-fund money spent by the public through his highly successful Pay It Forward London crowdfunding initiative, with around 200 of the capital’s small businesses expected to benefit.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said: “The last few months have tested the resilience of London and Londoners as never before. As the capital’s businesses and communities adapt to a post-Covid future, it is essential we learn the lessons the pandemic taught us and ensure we are prepared for the future. This fund will help our small firms and our local community groups to be better prepared for that future.

“Our small businesses and voluntary organisations are the lifeblood of our high streets and communities. Man of them are now struggling to survive and I’m determined to give them all the support I can.

“London leads the world in technology and innovation and it is exciting to see what can be achieved when our innovators and small businesses come together to build London’s resilience against future challenges.”

Lina Liakou – Managing Director Europe and the Middle East, Global Resilient Cities Network said: “For a city to thrive in the face of shocks and stresses, it needs to put its small businesses at the heart of a resilient recovery. Now more than ever, I am thrilled to see the bold action London is taking to support and mobilise its small business community.

“As a leading smart city with a strong digital industry, other cities look to London for leadership in innovation and will be excited to follow the Resilience Fund’s progress.”

Andrew Dakers Chief Executive, West London Business said: “The Resilience Fund will give small businesses and community groups the opportunity to build out ideas for how they can use tech to continue to pivot their services in response to the pandemic.

“The fund also encourages the development of open source solutions which should mean that after gaining first mover advantage successful applicants can also help raise the performance of the wider economy.  It will be exciting to see the new wave of tech that emerges across the capital.”

Chris Thorpe, Head of Technology Research and Development of CAST/The Catalyst said: “I am excited to see how charities, small businesses and wider civic society can play a role in developing a resilient response and recovery from COVID-19.

“The London Resilience Fund is an innovative and much needed initiative to help Londoners and the organisations which support them.”