NI Micro-Business Hardship Fund

NI Micro-Business Hardship Fund

27 May 2020

The NI Executive has launched a new NI Micro-business Hardship Fund to help NI based micro-businesses and social enterprises unable to access other regional and national COVID-19 support measures.

£40 million is available and is being administered by Invest Northern Ireland on behalf of the Department for the Economy. It will offer emergency funding to businesses facing immediate cash flow difficulties due to the impact of COVID-19.

Scheme Summary

The funding is available to businesses unable to access the £10,000, £25,000 and Covid-19 Childcare Support grant schemes.  Final amounts awarded will depend on the number of successful applications.

The level of Hardship Fund grant will be up to £10,000 for businesses which pay business rates on premises and up to £5,000 for those that do not pay business rates. Businesses within each category will receive the same amount.

Only one grant will be paid to each eligible business, irrespective of how many properties the business occupies.

Who is Eligible?

  • The business must be based in Northern Ireland.
  • At 29th February 2020, the business must have employed between one and nine employees paid via PAYE.  Businesses where the sole employee is the business owner or company director are not eligible for this scheme.  
  • Since 1st March 2020, the business must have experienced a reduction in turnover in excess of 40% as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic or associated Government restrictions.

Who cannot apply?

  • Primary agricultural producers i.e. those primarily concerned with crop or animal production or forestry or logging or fisheries or aquaculture.  However, agricultural businesses associated with the processing, marketing and retail of agricultural products can apply to the fund.
  • Businesses eligible for the following NI Executive schemes:
  • Charities or social enterprises with charitable status.
  • Social enterprises that receive less than 60% of revenue from trade in goods and/or services.


NI Business Info provides more detail about this fund including an Online Eligibility Checker, how to apply and an excellent Frequently Asked Questions section:


Applications for the NI Micro-business Hardship Fund will close at 6 pm on Friday 12 June 2020.


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