Businesses looking to expand and create new jobs could be eligible for interest-free loans to support their plans.
Firms that are putting together a wide range of expansion plans such as buying or constructing new buildings, refurbishing existing premises, improving access or introducing environmental improvements are being invited to apply for the latest round of finance available from the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership’s Growing Places Fund.
There is a total of £1 million currently available from the fund, which is designed to boost the economy in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire by promoting the delivery of jobs and housing and tackling barriers to growth such as infrastructure and site constraints.
Businesses may qualify for loans if they are planning a scheme worth £200,000 or more and can repay the money within four years of their project being completed. They will not be charged any interest on the loan as long as the scheme complies with state aid rules. In other cases interest will be charged at the lowest commercially appropriate level.
Successful projects will need to demonstrate that they will generate economic growth in a short space of time with the right infrastructure in place. They will need to show that they have a solid business case, are deliverable in a reasonably short timescale, will create jobs or housing, and provide returns which can be reinvested locally by the LEP, in addition to attracting further private investment.
“The Growing Places Fund is a great scheme providing interest-free or very affordable finance to help local businesses grow and thrive,” said LEP chairman David Frost CBE. “This can really help to speed up businesses’ expansion plans and have a big impact on jobs and growth.
“I would urge any firms considering growth plans and who think they could be eligible for support to contact us if they would like further information.”
Businesses that have already benefitted from the scheme include Cannock firm HellermannTyton, which has relocated to purpose-built premises at Kingswood Lakeside. The leading cable management manufacturer received £750,000 in Growing Places funding.
Another beneficiary is Dunston Business Village, near Penkridge, which received £585,000 in funding to help its expansion.
Bids for funding must be received by 21 April 2017. Further details are available by clicking on the Growing Places Fund tab on the LEP’s website: www.stokestaffslep.org.uk Growing Places Fund manager Eric Henderson can be contacted on 01785 277231 or via email at eric.henderson@staffordshire.
Picture: Dunston Business Village