Wakefield district businesses urged to apply to new funding pot

Date: 18/07/2014
Ref: PR 4649

Businesses in the district are being encouraged by the Council to apply for a slice of a £6m funding pot.

The Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership’s Growing Places fund provides loans for projects that will create economic growth and employment opportunities. It is open to businesses of all sizes based or looking to invest in the area.

Funding will be allocated to businesses that may need to purchase or upgrade property and equipment or infrastructure projects that can demonstrate they will accelerate economic growth, create jobs and be more resource efficient.

Councillor Peter Box, Leader of Wakefield Council, said: “Wakefield is a district with aspirations. We know we have businesses on the brink of fantastic growth and a helping hand by way of a loan from this fund might be just the thing they need.

“Across our district we can see the visible changes prompted by a loan from the Growing Places fund, from the clean-up of the old Prince of Wales Colliery site in Pontefract to the sensitive recreation of Unity Hall in all its splendour.

“I urge businesses to look at what help and support they might be able to access. If the Growing Places fund isn’t right, then it’s worth investigating Wakefield Council’s own Business Support Programme, which provides help and mentoring for start-ups.”

Previous beneficiaries of the funding include Harworth Estates, developers of the former Prince of Wales Colliery site in Pontefract and Unity Works, the organisation bringing Wakefield’s Unity Hall back to life.

Chris Hill, Development Director at Unity Works said: "Securing additional funding from Leeds City Region has allowed Unity Works to push forward and create Wakefield's first space for creative and digital businesses as well as bringing back to life the fantastic live music venue that we were once known for."

The Growing Places Fund makes up a wider funding offer from the LEP which includes further loan and grant funding. The LEP’s Business Growth Programme provides grants between £10,000 and £500,000 to businesses across the LEP’s key sectors and has so far supported over 250 businesses. In the recent Growth Deal announcement, the LEP secured a further £8m for this programme to support businesses in the region create jobs and enable good growth.

The Growing Places Fund will provide loans from £500,000 up to £1m. The Fund requires £3 of private funding to be levered in, for every £1 of loan. In the previous two rounds of funding, over 2000 short and long term jobs were created and 15 new apprenticeship positions. Alongside employment opportunities, the funding has secured over £100m private sector match funding that has been invested in the region.

The Wakefield business support programme was officially launched last September by Wakefield Council in partnership with RCP21, South Elmsall Town Council and South Kirby and Moorthorpe Town Council with part funding from the European Regional Development Fund.

The scheme aims to help businesses become established, grow, enter new sustainable markets and create new jobs. It offers a range of free support including business planning advice, access to funding and networking opportunities.

For more information about the funding options on offer from the LEP, please visit http://business.leedscityregion.gov.uk/support/funding