On 4 July, the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP) hosted an event at Leicester’s City Hall to launch the latest European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) funding calls. The event was open to local organisations that can deliver ERDF-funded projects, and was a chance to hear more detail about the calls via focused workshops.
The event took place in Attenborough Hall, commencing at 9.00am with a chance for attendees to network. Heather Roythorne-Finch, Programme and Relationships Manager, Midlands Growth Delivery Team, MHCLG, then welcoed delegates with a short address.
Presentations included an overview of the local economy of Leicester and Leicestershire from LLEP Head of Strategy Mike Durban, a run-down of the funding opportunities on offer, and inside information on what businesses want to see from this investment. Plans were then be shared for the new Midlands Energy Hub.
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 £12.92 million. Information on how much money is available for each of the PAs was shared both in the presentations and ‘workshop’ section of the event.
Specific interests were catered for during these workshops. At this point, delegates had the chance to break off into smaller groups and focus specifically on the priority axis that interests them most. Each workshop was facilitated by an expert in the field from the LLEP team, on hand to answer any questions that arose.
Kevin Harris, Chair of the LLEP Board of Directors, said:
“These ERDF calls are likely to be the last from the LLEP before the UK exits the European Union, and as such, we are incredibly keen to ensure that the money is targeted in the best possible way for our region.
“ERDF has been an extraordinary success story for Leicester and Leicestershire, with approximately £47.3 million invested by the LLEP since 2015. Major projects such as the University of Leicester’s Innovation Hub and Market Harborough’s Grow On Space have come to fruition through ERDF, as have countless programmes to support the small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs), which are the backbone of our local economy.
“This final round of funding calls will help to secure the future of our local businesses both big and small, and see us invest in the innovative, green technologies that will sustain our economy in the decades to come.”
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