Fuse Fund, designed to help young businesses with ambitious growth plans, has £4m of funding to share amongst 600 SMEs. The two-year programme, funded by the Government’s Regional Growth Fund (RGF), will create 1,000 new jobs in the county.
Over two years, grants of between £5,000 and £50,000 will be offered by Fuse Fund, contributing a quarter of the overall cost for capital investment projects in businesses that have been trading for less than 36 months.
Priority will be given to businesses in the manufacturing, digital and creative, environmental and energy technology sectors. Projects from other sectors will also be considered, especially those which make the most of opportunities from superfast broadband, and bids which address specific issues of urban deprivation.
Apply below if you are a business based within the county boundaries of Lancashire, including Blackpool and Blackburn with Darwen, and feel you may benefit from a grant.
Additional support available from Fuse Fund:
- Business workshops devised to help start and maintain a new business, including business, finance, marketing and business planning
- A start-up toolkit including a selection of support materials and templates
- Post-start support such as access to one-to-one mentoring and growth-orientated workshops
- More information about RGF, and other finance options available for small to medium sized businesses, can be found at www.greatbusiness.gov.uk/financing-a-business
To be eligible, businesses should:
- be based in the county of Lancashire (inclusive of Blackburn with Darwen and Blackpool)
- have been trading for under 36 months at time of application
- be looking to finance a capital investment project (machinery, building, infrastructure, property)
- be looking for a minimum £5,000 and maximum £50,000 contribution (25% of the overall project cost)
What sets this apart from traditional grant schemes is that this one is being led by the private sector and will be driven by entrepreneurial thinking.
The great county of Lancashire has one of the largest economies in the north of England and is the second largest economy in the North West, generating £22.1bn of Gross Value Added, which is just under a fifth of all economic activity in the region.
However, we consistently lag behind national and regional economic performance as well as that of Greater Manchester and Liverpool. Lancashire’s GVA per head is just 79% of the UK average and we have 34 businesses per 1,000 population, compared to 37 nationally. We recognise that this has to change and only through supporting SMEs to start up and grow will we close these gaps.
This is the missing link for Lancashire – an immediate injection of capital and support for young, growing companies that can be used to lever in other funding.