£134m of ERDF funding allocated to business projects
Around 90% of the money assigned to the Leeds City Region through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) has now been allocated to projects that boost business growth and create more and better jobs, according to latest figures.
£134 million – or 86.5% of the entire Leeds City Region ERDF pot – has been allocated or committed to projects that support firms to grow, become more efficient or increase productivity.
ERDF funding is part of the £308 million European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) programme, which the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) launched in 2014. At the time, the LEP was the first local enterprise partnership in the country to launch its ESIF programme.
Projects part-funded through ERDF in the Leeds City Region include Export for Growth, which is aimed at companies wanting to develop their international business or get started with international trade, and the Stimulating Innovation in the Agri-Food Sector programme, which is designed to boost science-based innovation in the sector and increase small business investment in agri-food research.
Further ERDF funding is expected to be made available from the start of March.
Roger Marsh, Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) chair, said: “Investing in projects that deliver business growth is a core theme of the LEP and I’m delighted almost 90% of Leeds City Region’s ERDF funding has already been committed to innovative and job-boosting projects.
“Thanks to the grant from ERDF, City Region businesses are now getting support to be more productive, export more efficiently and save money on their energy bills.
“Further funding is still available and we’re looking forward to receiving more bids for projects that will create jobs, boost the success of local businesses and make the City Region more competitive nationally and internationally.”
The Manufacturing Growth Programme (MGP), delivered by Economic Growth Solutions (EGS), received £500,000 of ERDF funding in October 2016. The team provides advice and support to help SMEs grow and has helped more than 240 firms within the engineering, food and drink, and construction sectors in Leeds City Region, creating 131 jobs.
David Whiteley, MGP manufacturing growth manager for the Leeds City Region, said: “It is satisfying to be at this position with the MGP. We are working hard to help manufacturing companies to grow and improve within Leeds City Region.
“We are way ahead of the targets we have set for ourselves, proving that there is a real appetite from SMEs for targeted business support that can help them grow.”
ERDF funding is administered by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government in partnership with the LEP.
In addition to ERDF, a further £68m from the European Social Fund has also been committed for projects across Leeds City Region, which support people to gain employment and skills and retain work. These funds are administered by the Department for Work and Pensions in partnership with the LEP.
The City Region’s European funding is in addition to the £1 billion Leeds City Region Growth Deal, which the LEP secured in 2014 to transform the City Region economy. This remains the largest Growth Deal ever handed out to a local enterprise partnership by Government.