Business Grants to Ukrainian refugee-led businesses
We believe supporting Ukrainian entrepreneurs is one of the best ways to facilitate sustainable, long-term ways of rebuilding Ukrainian lives in the UK, multiplying impact through further job-creation and contributing to the local economy
Opora will offer start-up business grants up to the value of £5,000 each.
The business grant will be offered in combination with business support and ongoing advisory, to also facilitate successful deployment of the grant for maximum impact.
The initial business support will include but will not be limited to any or all of the following:● Information and guidance on business structuring / entity formation● Business bank accounts ● Information about entity management requirement (companies house and HMRC statutory and tax filings)● Recommendations on accounting software providers and accountants to fulfil ongoing requirements ● Business planning including further pitch books and presentations ● Budgeting, cash flow forecasting ● Branding and marketing including social media ● Capital deployment, operationalisation ● Recruitment, employment, contracting
The ongoing advisory will include but will not be limited to:● Board advisory● Financial reporting and business management support ● Strategy setting and execution● Introductions leveraging the Opora network to appropriate contacts to facilitate business expansion, growth and compliance ● Business scaling and expansion management
For the avoidance of doubt, Opora will not provide any tax, legal or investment advice, but will signpost entrepreneurs and directors as grantees to appropriate resources and guidance as well as make introductions leveraging the Opora network to specialist qualified and licensed advisors in these matters, where appropriate.
Any Ukrainian national residing in the UK under any of the UK government visas opened in response to the war in Ukraine (including but not limited to Homes for Ukraine, Ukraine Family Scheme, Ukraine Extension scheme) is eligible to apply (Eligible Grantee).
The business must be a new business venture, founded or in the process of being funded by the Eligible Grantee (existing businesses operating in the UK prior to March 2022 and prior to the Eligible Grantee’s arrival into the UK will not be considered). Previous businesses managed by Eligible Grantees in the Ukraine that are looking to be re-established in the UK are eligible.
Grantee’s business must have a business bank account open in the name of the LTD or the sole trader account for the grant to be processed.
As long as the Eligible Grantee’s application fulfils the decision criteria, formal qualifications or experience or lack thereof will not influence eligibility, as Opora believes in equal business opportunity for all entrepreneurs regardless of formal qualifications.
Eligible Grantees need to pass background checks conducted by the Opora Business Grants Lead including but not limited to adverse media, criminal checks, sanctions compliance and other checks using Risk Screen tools.
All grants will be subject to satisfactory AML/KYC and Conflict of Interest checks.
Viability of the business proposal / plan to achieve stated goals based on capability of the Eligible Grantee, including but not limited to any of the following: skills, expertise, capacity to learn and/or prior experience, quality of the business proposal / plan, understanding of the operations, industry and segment of the proposed business, demonstrable understanding of fiduciary responsibilities of Directors, understanding of financials.
Although not a pre-requisite for eligibility, decision criteria include Eligible Grantee’s level of English to ensure successful operationalisation of the business in the UK.
The ability of the proposed business to generate additional employment and opportunities for Ukrainians resettling in the UK and abroad will also be taken into consideration.
Grantee’s business must have a business bank account open in the name of the company or the sole trader business the grant to be processed.
For all grants, a report will need to be produced to account for proper deployment of grants in line with the requested purposes of the grant as detailed in the grant agreement and shared with Opora Business Grant Lead, on a monthly basis until full deployment of the granted funds (specific timelines to be agreed as part of the grant agreement on a case-by-case basis). Opora reserves the right to recall the grant and pursue the Grantee’s entity or its directors for misuse of the grant if the grant use falls outside of the scope of the grant agreement and/or if the Grantee fails to provide the monthly report.
For some Grants, Opora may require one of the Opora Trustees to join the board of the Grantee’s Ltd as Non-Executive Director (NED) to facilitate ongoing advisory and monitoring of the appropriate deployment of grants.
To facilitate review and ensure more eligible applicants can apply, we will run multiple application rounds every few months and allocate grants in tranches
● Initial expression of interest: submit on the Opora platform, will be reviewed for eligibility ● Business proposal review: Opora will invite eligible applicants in each round of applications to submit Business Proposals / Plans detailing their proposal and how the grant would be deployed. Opora reviews the proposals against the decision criteria to come up with a longlist for interviews. ● Interviews: Opora conducts interviews with the long-listed applications to assess the proposals and Eligible Grantees against the decision criteria further to identify the shortlist for presentation for approval by the Opora Business Grants Committee. ● Due diligence checks: Opora conducts all required adverse media, sanctions, AML, KYC, Conflict of Interest and other appropriate checks on the shortlisted Eligible Grantees. ● Final approval by the Opora Business Grants Committee in line with the Opora Business Grants Policy● Execution of the grant agreement: Opora works with the chosen Eligible Grantees for each rounds to execute the grant agreement. ● Distribution of the grant: happens following the final approval by the Opora Business Grants Committee and once eligibility criteria are fully met (ie Ltd company incorporated and business bank account opened).
How to apply for the Opora Business Grants
Applications for tranche 2 (Q4 2022) Opora business grants are now closed. We will announced future tranches in 2023.