The editor, who joined RN (the leading trade publication for independent news and convenience retailers) in 2017, conducted a thorough investigation into claims made by the Government on grant funding for small businesses during the Covid-19 crisis. 

The Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF) were announced by the Government early in April, with schemes being delivered by Local Authorities. Small businesses such as independent convenience retailers, which are crucial for shoppers in many communities, particularly during the coronvirus pandemic, were reassured they would be eligible for grant funding. 

Despite much of the funding being allocated to small businesses, Courtez noticed a discrepancy in how much money local authorities still had unclaimed. 

The Government had, Courtez discovered, over-estimated the number of businesses that would be eligible for these schemes. Local councils were therefore sitting on hundreds of millions of pounds of grant funding – something on which Courtez challenged the Government. 

His tireless work and quick action led to the Government taking swift action and – on Saturday 2nd May – secretary of state, Alok Sharma, made an announcement unlocking the £617 million fund and ensuring that the money is distributed correctly to the small businesses who need it most urgently. 

“Independent retailers are working incredibly hard to support their communities through the Covid-19 pandemic, and their businesses are under increasing pressure. We are delighted that we have been able to get this much needed funding released for them.”

RN Editor Jack Courtez