SMALL businesses in Dorset that have been significantly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic are benefiting from a £50,000 investment

.Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has launched a new Crowdfunder match-funding initiative as part of its ongoing response to support Dorset businesses throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Crowdfund Dorset Business scheme provides businesses with up to £5,000 worth of match-funding.

More than £17,000 of match-funding has already been committed by Dorset LEP to seven small businesses across the county - including Nothe Fort, in Weymouth, Money invested in the heritage site, which attracts up to 70,000 visitors a year, enabled it to safely reopen within a week of the lockdown restrictions being relaxed.

The initiative is also providing support for Dorset Artists Emergency Fund, a campaign which is helping Dorset artists to cover overheads and loss of income caused by Covid-19, as well as SW Coast Refills, a Weymouth-based ‘zero waste shop, which sells sustainable, locally produced, food items.

James Farquharson, Nothe Fort Chair, said: “I am overwhelmingly grateful to our staff, visitors, Dorset LEP and everyone who donated to reopen Nothe Fort safely. “With the money raised, we have been able to make essential safety alterations to the museum’s entrance and display areas, including new barriers and hand-sanitiser stations throughout. We are over the moon to be welcoming visitors again.”

Other businesses being supported by the initiative include shoe manufacturer, Sole Buddy, Bournemouth-based rock venue Zephyr and Coda Music Trust, which provides therapy and personal development for people throughout Dorset through the learning of instruments.

Finn Morgan, Business Engagement and Dorset Gateway Manager at Dorset LEP, said: “Small businesses have the potential to bring social and economic benefits to communities across the county.

“We’re keen to support any small business struggling with the impact of the coronavirus and will consider applications from any small business seeking support as they find ways to adapt.”

The Crowdfund Dorset Business campaign is still open for applications and Dorset LEP aims to have issued the full amount by the end of the year.

If your business needs a cash injection to bounce back from the effects of Covid-19, or you know of someone who could benefit from this scheme, visit to find out more.