£15m grant money awarded to local businesses
Around £15 million has been awarded to West of England businesses to help them grow. The LEP’s ‘Going for Growth’ campaign that ran throughout the summer saw more than 300 businesses apply for grant funding. 80 business grants have already been made with a further 70-100 to be confirmed by the New Year.
Antony Corfield, the LEP’s programme manager for the fund, said: “The LEP’s task is to drive sustainable growth in the region, and a key part of this is by supporting SMEs. One of the obstacles businesses – particularly smaller one – can face, is securing commercial funding from banks and other lenders, which then prevents them from developing. One of the main aims of our Regional Growth Fund was to help overcome this by providing grant funding to lever private sector investment. The £25 million pot is there to support businesses with a range of projects and activities, such as investment in capital assets, research and development, and training.
It is estimated the fund will generate an injection of £100 million of private sector investment into the local economy that wouldn't otherwise have happened.
The LEP expects to launch a new window for smaller sums of money but broader activities and costs next year. Further details on this will be given in the New Year.
CASE STUDY 1
Abbey Hotel Bath expansion
The Abbey Hotel in Bath has successfully bid for £95,000 from the fund to enable them to expand their hotel, introduce new facilities and create six new jobs.
New owners Ian and Christa Taylor took over ownership of the centrally situated 60 bed hotel in January 2012 and in that time have developed the Allium Brasserie and Artbar.
The funding will help them realise their plans to increase the kitchen by 40%, add five additional bedrooms, new meeting and private dining space and new spa facilities.
Ian Taylor said: “This funding is great news and it means that we can get cracking with our expansion plans. We want to turn the Abbey Hotel from a 3 star to a 4 star hotel and ensure it stands alone as a much loved, independent boutique hotel in the heart of the city.”
CASE STUDY 2
£100,000 for manufacturing firm
Fowlers of Bristol has been awarded £100,000 to help it relocate to better premises.
Fowlers employs 22 people to manufacture sheet metal components, precision machined arts, welded fabrications and pressings for the aerospace, defence, commercial and automotive industries and needs to move from its current base in an old building in Montpelier to new premises with more space.
Justine Witherden from Fowlers said: “We are looking at another site which will give us the opportunity to improve the factory layout and grow the business to the extent that we plan to employ another five members of staff. We were delighted to be successful with our application because it meant we could go ahead with our plans to move. We wouldn’t have been able to afford to without it.”
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.