LEP urges businesses to snap up £8.65m fund

Businesses in the Leicester and Leicestershire area are being encouraged to apply to a £8.65m funding pot the Leicester and Leicestershire area.

This funding opportunity is specifically for projects, revenue or capital, looking to enhance the competitiveness of SMEs and support businesses in the following areas:

• Investment readiness

• High-growth and scale-up support

• Innovation to improve business productivity and job creation opportunities

• Business finance (including grants)

• Continued support for young people to start-up and grow a business

• Grow-on incubation and commercial space

All projects must be matched by 50% of the applicant’s own funding. The minimum sized contract is £1,000,000 (£0.5m ERDF / £0.5m match). Outline applications must be submitted by 23:59 on 20th April and successful applications will be invited to the second stage where a Full Application will be submitted.

Nick Pulley, chair of the LLEP said: “Since March 2015 the current European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Programme in England has been developing and supporting projects across the country which boost business and innovation and support local growth.”

“We have seen 13 successful projects in the LLEP area which help businesses in a wide variety of ways from grant schemes, free events and workshops, free business advice and more. These projects include the Growth Hub – LLEP Business Gateway, Digital Growth Programme, Collaborate Growing Business Together, Leicester Innovation Hub, Green BELLE and the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF) to name a few.”

Diane Beresford, deputy chief executive of East Midlands Chamber (Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire) said: “Businesses across the area are seeing the benefits that our programme is delivering – helping them harness the power of digital technology in their field, to better serve their customers and help them grow for the future.”

“This extra funding is great news and we would encourage eligible SMEs to take advantage of what is on offer, so they can be supported to achieve their potential for growth and we can see more success stories come to the fore.”

Nicola Holt, project officer at Green BELLE said: “Green BELLE was successful in bidding for £732,828 of ERDF funding in November 2016. Our project provides grants of £1,000 to £10,000 to help SMEs in Leicester and Leicestershire improve the energy efficiency of their premises and therefore reduce energy bills.”

“Without ERDF funding we would not have been able to support 49 SMEs so far, or reduce carbon emissions as a result of the measures that have been installed. We’ve been working with the LLEP and the LLEP Business Gateway throughout the project which has allowed us to stay up-to-date with ERDF news and has also helped us to promote Green BELLE.”

Pulley added: “The LLEP is encouraging local organisations to take advantage of the funding available and if you’re interested in running a project which supports SMEs, I encourage you to attend the upcoming ERDF event which will give an insight into the funding and application process.”