Further £6m for economic growth plan

The North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has approved a further £6m from the Growth Deal Local Growth Fund to enable The Rural Growth Network (RGN) to continue to support businesses within rural areas.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 23 February, 2016, 08:44
Gillian Hall, North East LEP

The RGN pilot project began in 2012 with £3.2m of funding for the North East from Defra. Over the last three years it has been testing ways of overcoming barriers to economic growth in the North East’s rural areas.

The programme has helped around 200 new businesses to establish themselves, assisted more than 1,000 businesses with either financial support or business advice and created more than 100 new enterprise spaces at 13 business hub sites.

Following on from this success, the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has approved a new programme which has two capital funds - the Rural Business Growth Fund and the Strategic Economic Infrastructure Fund (SEIF).

The SEIF opened again last week and will support the creation of enterprise units for multiple business users, managed workspace, site preparation works to unlock economic development sites or significant tourism projects of a strategic nature.

Stage 1 applications can be submitted until March 25 for projects that are able to start on site and deliver substantially before the end of March 2017.

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The scheme can support up to 40% of the cost of capital developments which can lead to the creation of more and better jobs in the region’s rural economy.

North East LEP board member, Gillian Hall said: “We are committed to ensuring that small to medium sized businesses located outside of our towns and cities have equal access to the finance they need to grow and thrive.”

Find out more about the grant schemes by contacting the RGN team based at Arch – The Northumberland Development Company.

Projects recently supported by the Strategic Economic Infrastructure Fund include The Sill at Once Brewed, Muckles Yard in Rothbury and Shawwell Business Centre, Corbridge, Kibblesworth Millennium Centre in Gateshead and Thinford Inn, Durham.

The interventions are expected to provide space for 338 jobs and create over 11,000m² of new or refurbished commercial accommodation to support the growth of the North East economy.