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Act now to access Regional Growth Fund business grants in the Sheffield City Region

I am pleased to note some encouraging signs of increased funding availability for local businesses.

Regional Growth Fund

The final call for applications for the Regional Growth Fund (RGF) held by Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (SCR LEP) has now been issued.

There is still up to £5m available for projects meeting the following criteria:

  • projects seeking grant in the range £25K – £99,999 (small) and £100K to £2m (large) at an average intervention rate of 20% – this could be more or less depending on the size of the company and location of the project
  • grants are only available to support direct business investment
  • a minimum of 5 jobs created for small schemes and 10 for large schemes
  • projects should be able to complete expenditure by March 15 and deliver the jobs by March 16 –  there is limited flexibility around this; and
  • the closing date for applications is 31 January, but depending on demand by that point, submissions may be accepted up to the end of March.
  • The first two tranches of RGF have realised 88 projects amounting to just over £28m of funding and leveraging total investment of £190m, potentially creating and safeguarding at least 3,000 jobs.

    Finance Yorkshire (FY)

    2014 is also the last year in which finance is available through current FY funds.

    FY has £90 million to invest, split £15 million in the Seedcorn Fund, £33 million in the Business Loans Fund and £43 million in the Equity Linked Fund.  Of this total 48% must be utilised in South Yorkshire.  To date £57 million has been invested across the three funds.

    South Yorkshire Investment Fund (SYIF)

    SYIF was the predecessor fund to FY and will be almost fully realised during 2014, leading to a fund of between £15 and £20 million available to reinvest in South Yorkshire from 1 January 2015.

    Access to Finance

    SCR LEP is keenly aware of the need to build on successes such as RGF, SYIF and FY, whilst also attempting to make sense of the myriad of other funding opportunities available.

    To this end Access to Finance is a key element of the draft Strategic Economic Plan:  Growth Plan issued by SCR LEP in December 2013 http://www.sheffieldcityregion.org.uk/growthplan/.

    As a firm BHP is keenly involved in this process through membership of the Creative Sheffield Advisory Board, the Business Advisory Panel and the LEP Business, Professional and Financial Services Sector Group.  As such this will be the subject of my next blog and I welcome any views in advance of this.