Budget 2021: New, small startups struggle with lack of further support

Ian Fraser, co-founder of World Tree Agriculture in Glasgow, said that the Budget is the latest in a long line of disappointments for businesses like his, which launched just as the pandemic took hold.

Having launched World Tree Agriculture in April last year, Ian has been looking to multiple avenues of funding and support for his social enterprise and sustainable innovation business but has been continually excluded from funding schemes like Bounce Back Loans and Social Enterprise grants due to the unfortunate timing of the business launch.

Since then, Ian has been actively searching for a “lifeline” for his business – which is now in dire straits and at risk of going into liquidation. He had been hoping for measures such as a change of date for the Bounce Back Loan Scheme in today’s Budget.

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"We were really hoping for something that could maybe even just let us try to bunker down and survive till the end of lockdown, and then see what was possible after that. But with this situation, that just doesn’t feel feasible.”

While Chancellor Rishi Sunak reiterated a commitment to supporting companies and businesses leading on green, technologically-driven innovations in his Budget, Ian said that this has failed to trickle down into reality for businesses like his own.

"The only finance we've actually had was our initial launch funding, which was back in April. We knew when we launched that amid the whole coronavirus situation, we had to really take a budget really seriously and agreed not to pay ourselves so that we could ride out the lockdown. So that when the lockdowns were done, we could get back into the economy.

“Naturally, that's just not happened and it’s taken far longer than anyone could have predicted.”

World Tree Agriculture is now looking for a lifeline to keep the business running, with bleak hopes for the future as the team look to struggle with the costs of rent and keeping the business alive without support.

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