Lancashire Business View launches £4m fund for businesses

Fuse Fund, a two year, £4m Regional Growth Fund programme has been launched by Lancashire Business View with the aim of helping 600 young businesses realise their ambitious growth plans with competitive grants and business support.

FUSEFUND_logoRegeneration teams and business support agencies from across the county attended the launch, along with representatives from the professional services sector. They learnt how the government’s RGF support would help create 1,000 new jobs and drive £13m investment into the county.

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 such as machinery, property improvement, building expansion and infrastructure improvement in businesses trading for less than 36 months.

Fuse Fund is a private and public sector partnership led by Regenerate Pennine Lancashire and Lancashire Business View, with support provided by Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council.

Steve Cochrane, managing director at Regenerate Pennine Lancashire said: “Lancashire is the second largest economy in the North West, with a fantastic supply chain and great connections to cities like Manchester and Leeds. It's a great place to do business, and Fuse Fund will give ambitious companies that start up here an opportunity to grow and become competitive at a much faster rate."

Richard Slater, publishing editor of Lancashire Business View, said: "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."

To apply for funding firms will need to demonstrate that:

  • They are based in or locating to Lancashire, including Blackburn with Darwen and Blackpool.
  • Trading under three years
  • Seeking capital investment
  • Will create jobs
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.

One of the reasons why the Fuse Fund has been in launched is to encourage more people to set up their own business.

Within Lancashire there are 34 businesses per 1,000 population, compared to 37 nationally, and this RGF support will help close this gap. For further information and eligibility criteria visit www.fusefund.co.uk