As part of the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) programme for 2014-2020, a new European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) call worth £750,000 has been published. It is specifically for the provision of a Business Growth Hub service for the Thames Valley Berkshire region for four years from April 1, 2017.
The funding will support innovation, boost businesses and create jobs across local economies and bring benefits that will be felt beyond the area’s boundaries. The Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) played a key role in shaping the call, based on the success of the current Growth Hub, which was established with £1.23 million funding from the Regional Growth Fund in 2014 and a further £250,000 from government’s Local-Growth Funds in 2015.
Huw Edwards, chairman of the area ESIF sub-committee, said: “The funds this area will receive from the new programme will play an important part in delivering on business ambitions via a continued Business Growth Hub service.”
Around the country £5 billion is being made available from the 2014-2020 round of the European Regional Development Fund and the European Social Fund to fund local projects. The main priorities of the ERDF programme are research and innovation, supporting and promoting small-to-medium-sized enterprises and the creation of a low-carbon economy.
Since its establishment the Thames Valley Berkshire Growth Hub has engaged with 660 businesses, assisted 210 of them and helped 20 pre-starts or start-ups. It has invested £488,000 in grants, matched with £949,000 of private investment; and leveraged a further £1.756m debt and equity investment into client companies. It has also provided skill-based training to 109 business leaders.