LEP joins forces with other West Midlands local enterprise partnerships for Â£125m access to finance programme
Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Enterprise Partnership has agreed to join together with five other LEPs across the West Midlands to create a major investment fund worth at least Â£125m – creating or safeguarding 9,000 jobs and helping 400 new businesses to start up.
The Regional Investment Fund will provide a range of programmes to support growing businesses in the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire, Black Country, Coventry & Warwickshire, Greater Birmingham & Solihull, Marches and Worcestershire LEP areas.
Each LEP is due to receive an allocation from the European Structural and Investment Fund (ESIF) to support various work in supporting businesses from 2014 to 2020.
As part of the agreement reached by the six LEPs, each will contribute money from their ESIF into a central fund worth more than Â£50m.
This will enable the LEPs to access an estimated further Â£75m, creating a Â£125m Regional Investment Fund to provide a suite of access to finance programmes that may include loans for small businesses, loan guarantees, seed corn equity, growth equity, mezzanine finance and finance as well as finance for innovation and low carbon businesses.
It is expected the funds to be supported by the Regional Investment Fund will be ready to go from next year.
Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Enterprise Partnership chairman Ron Dougan said: â€œAccess to finance is vital to businesses and so todayâ€™s news of the creation of the Regional Investment Fund will be a real boost to Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire and the regional economy.”
â€œWorking closer with our colleagues in neighbouring LEPs in this way means we can pool resources to greater effect and lever in additional private sector investment. Having a single fund of this kind across the West Midlands is more efficient and we all retain strong influence in our respective areas. Just this week we met with Minister of State Greg Clark who said he hoped to see enterprise partnerships working more closelyÂ in order toÂ have a greater impact and so this is a real positive step forward.”
â€œWhile there is still a lot of hard work to be done before the fund is officially launched, this is yet more reason to be optimistic about future growth and job creation in our area.â€