LEP Column: Funding that has helped businesses take next step

Spring is in the air and with that comes new life – you only have to see the growing flocks in the fields across Yorkshire – and optimism, and in my role as the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) chair, I certainly feel optimistic for businesses in our area.

Success stories: Corporate tent hire firm PapaKata was one of the beneficiaries of the LEPs Business Grant Programme. The £240,000 helped the group to create 20 jobs.

One such reason for my optimism are the results we’ve seen from our campaign to provide grants to expanding businesses, we called it the Business Grant Programme.

On March 31, that programme, which has been running since January last year, came to an end. This was part of the government’s Regional Growth Fund and was available to businesses in our LEP area to support capital expansion and create new jobs.

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Over the past 15 months, the total amount of grant funding that has been provided to our local businesses has been just over £3.9m. It’s an impressive amount, but in real terms, what does this really mean?

Well, it means that 42 businesses have been awarded grants, of amounts anywhere between £5,000 and £620,000 to support their business growth plans.

The idea of the programme is that for every £1 given by the programme, at least £4 would be provided through the private sector, this is a great example of how the partnership between the LEP and businesses works.

This in turn means that over 400 jobs have been created across our area, and with careful nurturing, many of these businesses will grow further in the coming years and employ more local people, in skilled, sustainable work.

Take PapaKåta for example, if you’ve been to an outdoor wedding, party or corporate event recently, you may have seen their handiwork.

They’re a firm who hire out giant Scandinavian teepees and American Sperry sailcloth tents. It was only a couple of weeks ago that they moved out of their old premises in Acaster Malbis, to their new location in Sherburn in Elmet, thanks to the Business Grant Programme.

PapaKåta wanted to expand their business, but also realised the benefits of staying in the local area.

The £240,000 funding they received has already had real benefits for their business and the local area, with PapaKåta safeguarding and creating more than 20 jobs over the next two years and allowing them to continue to offer a competitive service to their growing client base.

Then you have the Great Yorkshire Brewery, one of over a thousand micro-breweries in the UK. Based in Cropton, the brewery’s owners, Phil Lee and Jo Taylor had big plans for his micro-brewery.

The funding they got through our Business Grant Programme, as well as support from UK Trade & Investment, enabled the brewery to dip their toe into foreign waters.

The Great Yorkshire Brewery knew there was a market for quality British produce abroad and their products, which have a long shelf-life, are perfect to be exported to markets like Japan, China and Dubai.

The Business Grant Programme enabled the brewery to get new facilities and equipment which will triple its capacity and provide new jobs for locals in the Cropton area.

By the time all the expansion plans are completed, more jobs will have been created in the brewery.

The grants have been provided right across our patch, from Whitby to Masham. And the businesses that have been supported are incredibly diverse, like our region.

We have supported all kinds of businesses, from furniture, to marine engineering to pet food manufacturing and much more. All these businesses have both great ideas and a bright future ahead of them.

We have plans in place for the next round of funding and I’ll be able to tell you more about that towards the summer.

It doesn’t stop here; at the LEP we are here to support all businesses across our area. It could be in many different ways. Perhaps by having a chat with our local experts at one of our Pop-up Business Cafes.

Or through our work to support the improvements in connecting our area by roads and rail, or making sure our local people have the skills and training to find the jobs they want.

Our only priority is to make it easier for businesses to do business and to realise their ambitions.

Find out more about the work of the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Enterprise Partnership by visiting businessinspiredgrowth.com and you can follow the LEP on Twitter @bizinspiredgrow for hints, tips and support on growing your local business.

Grant programme in numbers

Number of businesses supported through this programme: 42

Total funding provided by the LEP: £3,901,464

Total funding provided by the private sector: £24,645,440

Ratio of LEP to private sector investment: more than £6 of private sector investment for every £1 of Business Grant Programme funding.

Number of jobs created: 434, at a cost of just over £9,000 per job, which is significantly lower than the national average.

Largest grant provided: £620,000. Smallest grant provided: £5,000

Average grant: just over £90,000