Going for Growth - the results
A nine month campaign led by the WE LEP has so far seen around £12 million of public money awarded to 138 local businesses to help them grow. This money has helped unlock around £41 million of private sector investment, created over 1,000 new jobs safeguarded more than 500.
The Going for Growth campaign was launched last summer to help promote the West of England Growth Fund – a pot of £25 million available to businesses in the region, which was supported by the government’s Regional Growth Fund. Led by the WE LEP, the campaign was backed by Bristol News & Media and attracted more than 300 applications from local companies.
In the next few weeks, a further £6.8 million is expected to be awarded to another 30 businesses, unlocking another £17 million of private sector investment and creating 255 jobs.
Paul Wilson, chief executive of the WE LEP, said: “We have been more successful than pretty much every scheme around the country. This campaign has helped get public money out to local businesses, who have in turn created over 1,000 new jobs and safeguarded another 500, and there is £50 million more in the economy than there would have been.”
Since it was public money, bids had to meet certain criteria. The money, which could part-fund projects, could be used towards capital investment for SMEs, research and development, training, employing disabled or disadvantaged workers, and supporting female entrepreneurs to start businesses.
A diverse range of businesses have benefitted from the Growth Fund, from food businesses to engineering firms, hotels to manufacturers, and animation studios to training centres.
Around £2 million has potentially been awarded to 12 businesses in the high tech sector, which has been prioritised by the LEP for its potential to deliver significant growth. Paul Wilson said: “High tech is a significant area of growth for us. We already compete internationally and our region is nurturing a future generation of high tech businesses.”
Although the campaign was oversubscribed, not every application met the criteria and so a second application round is being planned for March, when businesses will get another chance to apply for smaller sums of money. Watch this space for more details.
LEPs are driving economic growth across an economic area. They provide a means for local authorities to work together with business in order to quicken the economic recovery.