£2.24m High Growth Innovation Fund launched to help SMEs

Steve Rotheram

A £2.24m offer of funding to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across the Liverpool City Region has been launched by Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram.

The High Growth Innovation Fund, backed by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and the European Regional Development Fund, will help small firms to grow and create good quality jobs.

Grants of between £25,000 and £75,000 will be available to high growth businesses, and those with the potential to be high growth.

The £2.24m fund is intended to support existing businesses across the region to get new products or services to market, or develop new processes to help them adapt and grow, contributing to the region’s post-pandemic economic recovery.

The fund builds on two pilot rounds of the Future Innovation Fund which saw 35 local companies receive support worth £2.1m.

It will contribute to Mayor Rotheram’s ambition to invest five per cent of regional GVA on Research and Development (R&D) by 2030 – nearly double the government’s UK target.

Mayor Steve Rotheram said: “SMEs are the lifeblood of the Liverpool City Region’s economy, accounting for 99% of all businesses in our region.

“The role they have to play in helping drive our recovery from the pandemic cannot be understated. We need smart, bold businesses in our region with the potential – and ambition – to expand and innovate.

“I want to help even more businesses on their growth journeys. This fresh round of funding will encourage local business owners to tap into their entrepreneurial spirit. The return on this investment will be massive for our economy, helping to create thousands of new well-paid, secure jobs, all while supporting our wider targets for innovation.”

Ccillr Jan Williamson, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority portfolio holder for inclusive economy and third sector, said: “We know how important our small and medium-sized businesses are to our economy – they provide the vast bulk of employment across our city region and we need this sector’s high growth businesses to perform to their full potential, creating good quality jobs and boosting our economy.

“This investment will do exactly that, supporting our high performing SMEs to ensure that they can play a full role in our economic recovery as we look to rebuild after the pandemic.”

Asif Hamid chair of the Liverpool City Region LEP and portfolio lead for business support for the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, said: “The launch of this fund is great news. Over the last two years we have seen stories across the city region on how businesses have innovated and adapted in the face of the pandemic and it is essential that we ensure those businesses are fully supported.

“I would encourage any business to get in touch with Growth Platform – Liverpool City Region Growth Company who are delivering this fund and who have developed a whole range of programmes and support services to help accelerate and support growth.”

The High Growth Innovation Fund is part of a new £6.6m LCR High Growth Programme, that will provide a range of tailored business support to high growth SMEs, complementing the £75m Business Support Package launched by Mayor Rotheram in September 2019, the largest of its kind in decades when it was first announced.