Launch of new £5 million investment fund for the Heart of the South West
The Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander joined Nick Harvey at the Barnstaple Work Hub on Monday to launch a new £5 million investment fund for the Heart of the South West area.
Businesses across Devon, Plymouth, Torbay and Somerset can apply for grants of between £25,000 and £499,000 as part of the Unlocking Business Investment programme which aims to help businesses in the Heart of the South West area grow and create employment by unlocking investment opportunities and developing new markets.
Funded through the Government’s Regional Growth Fund, the £5 million programme will be delivered as a partnership between North Devon+ and Plymouth University and is supported by the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership.
Danny Alexander, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said “This government designed the Regional Growth Fund to support businesses across the country, so it’s great that North Devon+ has introduced a £5 million scheme specifically to benefit some of the South West’s smallest businesses.”
“This is just one element of the government’s £23bn infrastructure support for the region – from roads to rail to business support, we’re investing in the South West like never before.”
Local MP Nick Harvey commented: “It was brilliant that Danny had the opportunity to meet some of North Devon’s innovative small businesses at Barnstaple’s Work Hub. The new £5 million Business Investment Fund is brilliant news for firms who want to submit smaller bids than the £1 million bid for the Regional Growth Funding. The new fund, which North Devon+ and the Heart of the South West LEP have worked hard to secure, bridges this gap and gives our small businesses fantastic opportunity for growth.”
“As well as improved infrastructure, businesses need improved access to the investment that they need to grow. I congratulate all concerned with the locally-led, innovative scheme run by North Devon+ in which they are coming together to bid for money from the Regional Growth Fund. This innovative and inspirational approach is typical of the people and businesses of this great region and I wish them every success.”
Steve Hindley, Chair of The Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “I am delighted to see the launch of the £5m Business Investment Fund for the Heart of the South West. Small businesses make up much of our employment sector in this area, and they have much potential for growth. We are in an era of creating the right conditions to enable our local businesses to thrive, and this is the latest injection of investment is welcome news that will help us on our journey towards economic prosperity.”
Andy Lobato, Chair of North Devon+, said: “The Unlocking Business Investment fund provides an excellent vehicle to support both growth and employment throughout the HoTSW LEP area; it will build on the earlier work of Plymouth University, through the GAIN Growth Fund+. Businesses across Devon and Somerset have the opportunity to reach their full potential, where financial barriers have previously prevented this. With the combined experience and expertise of Plymouth University and North Devon+ Unlocking Business Investment will make a significant positive impact to businesses and the wider economy.”
About North Devon +
North Devon+ is the chief economic delivery agency for North Devon and Torridge. We aim to deliver positive change, creating a more productive economy and more prosperous communities. Our role is to ensure our area thrives as a place in which to live, learn, work and visit. Our primary focus is on regeneration, tourism and business development. We work with Torridge District Council, North Devon Council, Devon County Council and the private sector to deliver projects and initiatives that encourage and support business growth, improve quality of life, and address social and economic inequalities. North Devon+ is a member of the National Enterprise Network. To find out more visit www.northdevonplus.co.uk
About Plymouth University and GAIN
Plymouth is one of the leading modern universities in the UK, ranked in the top seven institutions under the age of 50 by Times Higher Education. The Times Higher Education World University Rankings place them in the top 40 UK universities. Awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education in 2012 for marine and maritime teaching and research, they have won numerous awards and accolades, and are the only university in the world to be awarded the Social Enterprise Mark.
Their 30,000 students, which include those at their partner colleges across the South West, are enrolled on courses from farming to pharmacy, business to biology, and design to dentistry. And the 12,000 paid internships they provide every year for their students is just one of the many ways that they help them to develop new skills and graduate ready-for-work.
They have invested more than £150 million in their campus over the past seven years and are the first modern university to launch a medical school. Through their £100 million network of support facilities and services, they are growing hundreds of businesses across the region and beyond.
To find out how Plymouth is making a difference to its communities, please visit www.plymouth.ac.uk
GAIN (the Growth Acceleration and Investment Network) exists to accelerate the creation, growth and investment in high quality businesses and ideas to create wealth and jobs in the South West Peninsula. It is a partnership founded by Plymouth University, Plymouth City Council and Plymouth Science Park
About the Government’s Regional Growth Fund
The Government’s Regional Growth Fund has invested nearly £3 billion to help businesses in England to grow; so far generating over 100,000 jobs.
56 new awards in Round 6 and seven through exceptional RGF support – announced on 12 February 2015, gives £297 million to 63 projects and programmes to create and safeguard thousands more jobs and unlock an additional £1.5 billion private sector investment.
For more information please go to www.bis.gov.uk/rgf