North East rural businesses to receive LEP funding

North East rural businesses to receive LEP funding

Local businesses can look forward to further support from the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) after it approved a further £6m from the Growth Deal Local Growth Fund.

This success of its first few years in service has lead to the North East LEP approving a new programme, made up of two capital funds - the Rural Business Growth Fund and the Strategic Economic Infrastructure Fund (SEIF).

Initially beginning in 2012, with £3.2m of funding, the project has been testing ways of overcoming barrier to economic growth for the rural areas across Northumberland, Durham and Gateshead.

The last three years have seen the project help around 200 new businesses establish themselves within the rural areas, assisted more than 1,000 businesses with either financial support or business advice and created 100 new enterprise spaces at 13 business hub sites across the region.

The SEIF opened for its latest round last week, and will support the creation of enterprise units for multiple business users, managed workspace and significant tourism projects.

With potential to support up to 40% of the cost of capital developments, the scheme will aim to create more jobs in the region’s rural economy.

North East LEP board member, Gillian Hall, said: “Rural businesses have a huge part to play in supporting the regional economy and in creating more and better jobs for all.

"I strongly encourage entrepreneurs and business owners to take advantage of the opportunities that these funds provide.”

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