Friday, September 20, 2013

News: LEP aims to unlock more business investment

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The Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has launched the next phase of its flagship programme aiming to unlock more business investment in the Sheffield City Region (SCR).

In July the LEP was conditionally awarded £7m from the Government's Regional Growth Fund (RGF) to support modern manufacturing and technology companies to create jobs as a follow up to the successful £25m bid secured in round three of the fund.

The "Unlocking Business Investment" programme provides grants of between £25,000 and £2m to support companies using their own funding to make direct business investments that ultimately lead to creating sustainable, private sector jobs. Business investments include capital projects which involve investment in equipment, machinery and tools; alterations to land and/or premises to meet the needs of the business. Grants can also be used to support new research and development.

The latest round of the programme now includes a new sub-programme with £2.5m set aside to support smaller businesses.

The initial scheme was over-subscribed and is already on track to create approximately 2,000 sustainable, private sector jobs.

So far, ten local businesses have had their projects formally approved to receive over £4m from the LEP's RGF programme. These ten businesses will create 279 new jobs in the Sheffield City Region.

50 local projects are hoping to secure funding and the LEP hopes that the extra funding can be used to create over 500 additional new jobs.

David Grey, member of the LEP Steering Group, said: "The SCR LEP bid for, and secured this funding on a competitive basis. Since then we have set about securing the maximum value for public money, and in doing so, supporting in as many companies as possible to invest and grow. Given the profile of companies in our region – I am delighted that smaller companies are now able to access funding through this programme. I would encourage any business with suitable project to apply."

Eligible projects will be selected on a competitive basis by the LEP Steering Group. An online application from will be available from the 27th September 2013 until 31st October 2013. Rotherham companies wishing to submit an application for funding to support their investment should contact Tim O'Connell at RiDO.

Lord Heseltine, whose independent report is shaping the way the private sector and local and central government work together on economic development, was in Rotherham this week to discuss his vision for LEPs with Chairman James Newman and Board Members Julie Kenny CBE, Cllr Julie Dore, Professor Philip Jones, Nigel Brewster and Cllr Sir Stephen Houghton CBE.

Sheffield City Region LEP website

Images: Loadhog

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