Friday, February 13, 2015

News: Finance Yorkshire boosted by RGF


Regional funding body, Finance Yorkshire has secured a grant from Round 6 of the Regional Growth Fund (RGF) to invest in businesses across Yorkshire and the Humber.

Finance Yorkshire was the first European JEREMIE (Joint European Resources for Micro to medium Enterprise) initiative to become fully invested in England.

The initial £90m fund had three investment teams, Seedcorn Finance, Business Loans and Equity Linked Investments. It secured £45m from the European Investment Bank, together with £30m investment from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and £15m from the Government via Yorkshire Forward. Around £28m was invested in South Yorkshire companies.

The RGF is the government's main source of funding for economic development and regeneration and supports private sector investment and job creation. Since its launch in 2010 it has invested £2.85 billion to help local businesses grow and take on more staff across England.

Alex McWhirter, chief executive of Finance Yorkshire, said: "This is excellent news and a tremendous boost for Yorkshire and the Humber. The grant will allow Finance Yorkshire to continue its vital investment work in providing gap finance to companies with viable and achievable business plans, allowing them to grow and expand and create jobs in the region.

"Our investments have already given businesses a timely boost which has led to substantial private sector investment and more employment opportunities being created. The RGF grant will further increase that effect and with growth firmly back on the business agenda, the economic impact of the new investment available should not be underestimated."

James Newman, chairman of Finance Yorkshire and chairman of the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, added: "Finance Yorkshire"s investments to date have had a huge impact on the regional economy, enabling businesses to grow, create jobs and wealth.

"The RGF grant provides the opportunity for Finance Yorkshire to build on its track record and further invest in companies right across the region, supporting them in their ambitions to succeed and grow."

Access to Finance was a key theme of the recent LEP Business Conference where Julie Kenny, chair and chief executive of growing Rotherham business, Pyronix Limited and LEP board member, explained the evidence of market failure and the importance of the issue to the city region's Growth Hub.

A "Centre of Expertise" will become the gateway to a range of finance and investment products, improving coordination and helping businesses find the package of loans and grants they need to be able to grow.

The LEP is also working to ensure that the right products are in place, working with other LEPs to explore a future JEREMIE initiative and integrating its own £50m RGF Business Growth Fund.

Funding for commercial property and infrastructure comes in the form of a £23m Joint European Support for Sustainable Investment in City Areas (JESSICA) fund - a so called "evergreen fund" where a return on the initial investments is expected, which will then be recycled into further projects over the next ten years.

One problem is the issue of the proposed use of European funding for such business support and finance packages as the next round of EU strutural funds is unlikely to be in place before the current round ends.

Finance Yorkshire website
Sheffield City Region LEP website

Images: Finance Yorkshire


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