Funding scheme launched to attract businesses and bring new jobs to Northumberland

A new funding scheme to attract businesses to Northumberland, North Tyneside and Newcastle has been launched, with another two for existing firms to follow shortly.

Wednesday, 23rd October 2019, 11:46 am
Updated Saturday, 26th October 2019, 5:57 pm
Picture c/o Pixabay

At its meeting on October 22, the cabinet of the North of Tyne Combined Authority heard that the the North of Tyne Inward Investment Grant fund has now been launched.

Meanwhile, the North of Tyne Business Growth Fund and North of Tyne Rural Growth Fund are both making good progress and are set to start soon, pending final funding approval from the Government.

The £3million Inward Investment fund, which is now operational and open for applications until the end of September 2022, can provide a minimum grant of £100,000 and a maximum grant of £1million for foreign or UK-owned businesses making a first investment in the region. In exceptional circumstances, it can also support companies already based in the area who are setting up a completely new type of economic activity.

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The report to cabinet explained that it ‘fills a gap left by the withdrawal of past grant sources and enables the North of Tyne area to compete with other investment locations in the UK and Europe who are already offering grant assistance to inward investors’.

It is anticipated that it will help create 600 jobs and leverage £17.1million of private-sector investment.

The Business Growth Fund is awaiting final sign-off from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government for a grant £4.6million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), which will be matched by contributions from small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Expected to start by the end of the year, the scheme will will support SMEs with existing operations in the North of Tyne area, with grants available starting from £40,000, requiring a minimum total investment of £200,000 for a medium and £133,000 for a small business.

The primary aim of the fund is to support investment which will create employment and stimulate growth. Businesses seeking support will need to demonstrate that financial assistance is required in order for the investment to progress.

This fund will support around 28 businesses, deliver 252 jobs and leverage £10.5million of private-sector investment.

For the Rural Growth Fund, the combined authority’s cabinet agreed £1.26million (over four years) in March to Northumberland County Council – the lead applicant – which is to be matched with £3.8million of ERDF and £2.8million of private-sector investment.

The application for ERDF funding is in the final stages of the decision-making process and subject to the expected positive outcome expected, the scheme will likely be operational by the end of the year.

This three-year project aims to support economic growth in rural economies and the economic rebalancing of rural communities.

It will provide 300 businesses with information, diagnostic and brokerage support, of which 245 businesses will be provided with more intensive support to develop growth plans and 62 of them will benefit from a capital grant to invest in those plans.

It is expected that 187 new jobs will be created in the businesses supported with a capital grant and £2.8million of private-sector investment will be leveraged.

Coun Peter Jackson, leader of Northumberland County Council, said: “It’s a really strong package of business support right across the area.

“I’m particularly pleased on behalf of Northumberland to see the start of this Rural Growth Fund. We have seen how public support has generated a large number of small businesses, which have started up and then gone on from there.”

He added that the investment fund was important to ‘de-risk some of their innovative ideas’.