On 28 June 2019, the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP) will release its final European Regional Development Funding (ERDF) calls. These are likely to be the final European funding calls before the UK exits the European Union. The LLEP is hosting an event for organisations that can deliver ERDF funded projects at Leicester’s City Hall at 9.30am on 4 July, at which they can find out more about the calls.
Since 2015, the LLEP has invested approximately £47.3 million in local businesses. From start-ups looking for initial guidance, scale-ups seeking more specialist advice, to large capital investments, the LLEP has supported all manner of projects and programmes.
Major ERDF-funded projects have seen capital investments such as the University of Leicester’s Innovation Hub and Market Harborough’s grow-on space building take shape. The total amount of ERDF committed by the LLEP was £5.84m. However, these investments unlocked a further £6.65m, bringing the total across the two projects to almost £12.5m. These will see hundreds of square metres of new commercial space made available for the region, creating jobs and prosperity in both Leicester and Leicestershire.
As well as these major projects, ERDF has supported small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) to invest and grow by funding a range of business support initiatives. ERDF funding allowed Desford-based engineering company MJ Products to invest £25,000 in an innovative new lifting system. The investment has increased the output of the company and improved health and safety by eliminating the need for manual handling. SMEs are the backbone of Leicester and Leicestershire, with 89% of businesses employing fewer than 10 people. These businesses are a key focus of ERDF investment.
By targeting ERDF money in this way, the LLEP has unlocked a further £49.4m investment in our region. This has resulted in a huge, £96.7m boost to the local economy over the last four years. These final calls will build on this investment and ensure that Leicester and Leicestershire continue to prosper into the future.
Within the ERDF funding stream, there are four ‘priority axes’ (PAs). These are key themes that projects must adhere to if they are to receive funding. PA-1 is centred around investment in innovative projects. PA-2, in ICT; PA-3, in SME competitiveness; and PA-4, in low carbon projects and technologies. These final ERDF calls will have a combined value of £13.07m. Information on how much money is available for each of the PAs will be shared at the event.
As well as news on the final funding calls, the event at Leicester’s City Hall is a chance for delivery organisations and funding providers to hear the latest news on what the LLEP is doing to grow the economy of Leicester and Leicestershire. The Midlands Energy Hub, for example, is being set up to invest for the long term in green energy production for the region. Organisations interested in managing projects in this sector may therefore wish to secure funding through PA-4 (low carbon).
Attendees will off course have a chance to ask any questions they might have on the calls, and how they will be directed to get the best value for the local economy in Leicester and Leicestershire. There will also be a workshop element, during which delegates will be able to focus on the ERDF opportunities they’re most interested in, and drill down into the nuts and bolts of the PAs.
Mandip Rai is LLEP Chief Executive and Chair of the ESIF committee. He said:
“ERDF funding is an extremely important local resource to support businesses to start-up and grow. The fund is targeted at improving access to finance, supporting business to adopt new technology and invest in much needed commercial space. The investment will deliver hundreds of new jobs as well as improve the performance of businesses across the area. With these final calls, the LLEP is encouraging further innovative proposals to be put forward to drive economic growth in Leicester and Leicestershire”.
Kevin Harris is Chair of the LLEP Board and President of the East Midlands Chamber of Commerce. He said:
“I’m very proud that the LLEP has had such great success in targeting ERDF investment in Leicester and Leicestershire, and excited to see the proposals for this final wave of funding. By working with external delivery organisations that have sector-specific expertise, the LLEP can ensure that these funds are invested where they are needed most, to reap the greatest benefit for our region. We want Leicester and Leicestershire to become national hubs for investment in areas such as low carbon technology, and these funding calls are a big part of that ambition.”
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