Business

Interest-free Growing Places loans on offer to Stone businesses

Stone businesses looking to expand and create new jobs could be eligible for interest-free loans to support their plans

Firms across Staffordshire 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 tackling barriers to growth such as infrastructure and site constraints.

The funding aims to support the businesses in the priority areas in the LEP’s strategic economic plan. These are advanced manufacturing – including auto-aero, energy generation, advanced materials, agri-tech and medical technologies – plus digital technologies, business and professional services, and tourism and leisure. Applications will also be considered from other sectors subject to qualifying criteria.

Businesses may qualify for loans if they are planning a scheme worth £100,000 or more and can repay the money within two 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, that their plans 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 an excellent scheme providing interest-free or very affordable finance to help local businesses grow and thrive,” said LEP chairman David Frost CBE. “This funding can play an important role in smoothing the path for businesses’ expansion plans and have a big impact in creating new jobs and driving economic growth.

“I would urge any firms who are developing growth plans and who think they could be eligible for support to contact the Growing Places team 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, creating new units for small businesses.

Bids for funding must be received by 18 May 2018.  Further details are available on the Growing Places Fund page on the LEP’s website: https://www.stokestaffslep.org.uk/tenders/growing-places-fund/

Growing Places Fund manager Nigel Senior can be contacted on 01785 277365 or via email at nigel.senior@staffordshire.gov.uk

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