Former Cabinet minister, Rt Hon Justine Greening, has launched the C-19 Business Pledge.
The national scheme encourages businesses to join the coronavirus effort by pledging to help their employees, customers and communities across Britain get through the crisis.
It is targeting not just the immediate challenges of coronavirus, but also the challenges of recovery.
It comes after Justine received a huge response from businesses getting in touch with her and willing to be part of a national effort.
The initiative has already received the backing of employers representing over 250,000 staff and students.
As well as Bolton College, which if part of the University of Bolton Group, they include BP, Everton Football Club, National Grid, DLA Piper, Severn Trent Water, global publishing firm Emerald Group and software provider Advanced. Also on board are investment company True Potential, tech giant Konica Minolta, Yorkshire-based Sewell Group and law firm Shoosmiths.
Universities that have risen to the challenge include Bolton, Bradford, Bishop Grosseteste, Brunel, Northampton, York St John, Staffordshire and Leeds Beckett.
Employers who sign up to the pledge give their backing to three main objectives built around employees, customers and communities, which will not only help Britain through the immediate challenges of coronavirus, but also through its recovery.
Justine said: “The C19 Business Pledge is all about encouraging as many businesses as possible to get involved and then helping them do that faster and better by sharing all the great work that’s already been done.
“The early response has been incredible and I’ll do everything I can to help to connect up British business to play its role.”
Professor George E Holmes, President and Vice Chancellor of the University of Bolton, said: “When I was approached to sign up to the C19 Business Pledge I agreed immediately.
“It is clear that we are living in an unprecedented situation which is developing at a rapid pace and the Coronavirus pandemic is having the most profound effect on everyone in the UK.
“The University of Bolton has already set out what action and support we can offer for our employees, customers and the wider community to back up the C19 Business Pledge.
“This includes university staff on full pay during the inevitable national university closures helping deliver food and essentials to the elderly and isolated.
“We are proud to be one of the first organisations in the UK to sign up to it.”
For more on the C-19 Business Pledge visit www.c19businesspledge.org