Prepare your business now to secure a Covid-19 technology grant later this month – that’s the message from David Armstrong, founder of specialist security firm Centurion.

The statement follows an announcement from the government that £20m of funding will be available for SMEs to secure grants for equipment, technology and specialist advice to get their business back on track. Between £1,000 - £5,000 will be available per business when the scheme opens mid-late September – although this is capped at £3,000 in the Leeds City Region.

“As a supplier of security and Covid-19 technology, we have seen first-hand how specialist equipment can mean the difference between being able to reopen – and turn a profit – and remain closed,” comments David. “It is key to unlocking economic recovery, and I am pleased that it is being recognised. Technology is able to help businesses mitigate the impact of Covid-19, build resilience and identify new opportunities.

“The scheme doesn’t open until later this month, but I urge businesses to research their options now and be prepared. At first glance, £20m of funding appears a large sum of money, but the funding is being distributed through Growth Hubs within Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) with an allocation per region. The Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership has been awarded £1.8m of the ‘pot’.

“With a provision of up to £3,000 per business, it potentially means it may only cover 6,000 companies across the region. When you look at the The Leeds City Region, which has 109,000 businesses, the picture becomes clearer.”

David is advising firms to register their interest with the LEP to be the first to hear when applications for the grants open.

“There are many types of technology that can support businesses in facing Covid-19, but from a health and safety perspective – and instilling trust in stakeholders – Covid-19 detection technology is a good place to start.

“We have supplied and installed such equipment in all types of organisations, such as universities, schools, retail spaces, offices and commercial facilities. Thermal CCTV, for example, is now able monitor the temperatures of up to 30 people simultaneously entering a building. There are also access control systems which don’t allow entry to people who aren’t wearing a mask, or who have a fever. There is also the option of walk-through metal detectors with temperature monitoring, or even access systems which control the flow and density of people allowed in a building.

“These measures, which would have seemed unthinkable just a few short months ago, now seem inevitable for most businesses.”