LEPs around the country have been allocated funding of almost £500m by government from the “Growing Places Fund”. This money is to be used in projects that will create the local environments in which businesses can grow- in the main, developing brown-field sites, enterprise zones and business parks. This is the future of the present governments funding for business- less support for individual businesses, and more emphasis on creating the places they need to flourish. So get used to it- it shouldn’t be a surprise!
Local Enterprise Partnerships are inconsistent in their approach across the country. In this neck of the woods D2N2 (covering Derbyshire & Nottinghamshire) are letting us now what they’ve secured, and seem more proactive and communicative with businesses than most. They have fared better than most with almost £18m secured- well done, and here’s hoping it’ll make a difference! Greater Manchester LEP don’t realise it’s 2012 yet, and are still celebrating the appointment last year of their board members (come on, catch up!). Sheffield City Region have just over £12m, and Cheshire & Warrington LEP have almost £9m to spend.
Much of this money will used to enable some projects that had previously been put on hold to go ahead, and there’ll be some opportunity for new projects to be considered too. This isn’t your chance to cash in as an individual business, remember the focus is on business communities. So if funding is still important to your business, you’ll need to find ways of getting involved with the LEPs and business partners to encourage and support bids, think of ways of investing the money locally that removes barriers to growth of businesses, and ultimately reap rewards as a member of the business community rather than directly.
Keep tabs on PHMC for more information about business funding.