NI Micro-business Hardship Fund

A new NI Micro-business Hardship Fund has been launched by the NI Executive to help micro-businesses and other social enterprises that have been unable to access other COVID-19 financial support measures.

The £40 million fund, which will be administered by Invest Northern Ireland on behalf of the Department for the Economy, will offer emergency funding to eligible businesses who are facing immediate cash flow difficulties due to the impact of COVID-19.


Businesses should ensure they meet the following criteria before applying:

  • Must be based in Northern Ireland;
  • As at 29 February 2020, must have employed between 1 and 9 employees paid via a PAYE scheme – excludes businesses where the sole employee is owner or company director; and
  • Since 1 March 2020, must have experienced a reduction in turnover of over 40% as a direct result of COVID-19 or associated Government restrictions.


The following micro-businesses and social enterprises are excluded:

  • Primary agricultural producers i.e. those concerned primarily with crop or animal production, forestry, logging, fisheries or aquaculture;
  • Businesses eligible for the following NI Executive Schemes:
    • £10,000 Small Business Support Grant Scheme;
    • £10,000 Small Business Grant for rental properties and Total NAV of £1,590 or below;
    • £25,000 Retail, Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure Grant;
    • Covid-19 Childcare Support Scheme;
  • Charities or social enterprises with charitable status; and
  • Social enterprises that receive less than 60% of revenue from trade

Eligible businesses should note that only 1 grant will be paid, regardless of how many properties the business occupies.

Other non-repayable Government grant related to COVID-19 will be taken into account and, where applicable, be deducted from the grant awarded.

For more information on the grant scheme, including steps you can take to prepare for the application, please contact us or visit NI Business Info.