Coronavirus: Get ready to apply for the NI Micro-business Hardship Fund

News article

Eligible businesses invited to get ready to apply online for the NI Micro-business Hardship Fund

NOTE: Applications to the NI Micro-business Hardship Fund closed at 6 pm on Friday 12 June 2020.

This new grant will assist micro-businesses and social enterprises based in Northern Ireland affected by the impact of COVID-19 to access financial support.

Applications can only be made online. Before you apply, there are some steps that you will need to take.

Check if you're eligible

First, use the online eligibility checker to find out if you qualify for the grant - read the eligibility criteria and use the online checker to find out if you can apply.

Gather the correct information

If you are eligible, you will need the following information to complete the online application form:

  • Your business name.
  • Your contact name and number.
  • Your business address and postcode.
  • Your employer PAYE reference number, also known as an Employer Reference Number or ERN. This is given to every business that registers with HMRC as an employer. An ERN is made up of two parts: a three-digit HMRC office number and a reference number unique to each business. Please note, this is different from the 10-digit Unique Taxpayer Reference number (UTR) issued by HMRC to individual taxpayers who need to complete a Self-Assessment tax return.
  • The number of staff on your PAYE payroll as of 29 February 2020 and evidence to support this.
  • Your LPS Ratepayer ID and Occupancy ID if you pay business rates.
  • Your VAT number if you are VAT registered.
  • Your business bank account number and sort code (only provide bank account details where a BACS payment can be accepted).
  • Details of any de minimis funding your company or any company within the Group (if applicable) has received in the current or previous two fiscal (accounting) years.

Prepare the electronic documents you need

You will also need to provide three documents electronically:

  • A form of photographic ID as proof of your identity, such as a scanned or photographed copy of a valid passport or a current (full or provisional) driving licence. All driving licences with an expiry date between 1 February and 31 August 2020 will be treated as valid for a further seven months.
  • A scanned or photographed copy of a bank statement dated within the last three months for an account used by your business that clearly shows your address.
  • A copy of your PAYE Real Time Information (RTI) return for the period ended 29 February 2020. If the payroll week does not fall exactly on 29 February 2020, you should submit your RTI Full Payment Submission (FPS) data for the period immediately before 29 February, and no earlier than 31 January 2020.

The maximum file size of each attached document is 3MB.

The online application process will take approximately one hour to complete. You can save your application and return to it at any time before the closing date.

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

First published on 15 May 2020