LBV 61: Funding Guide Part One
A rich future on the horizon for LancashireIn Lancashire, we have some 44,000 businesses, the majority of which are SMEs supporting nearly 615,000 jobs. These businesses represent a whole swathe of industry types and generate over £23bn in GVA but, latterly, a combination of high growth companies, technological innovation and academic support and excellence is providing a sustainable economic backdrop against which these companies can grow.
Investment in advanced manufacturing, aerospace, automotive manufacturing, digital and creative and a dynamic visitor economy – Lancashire attracts more than 60 million visitors a year, more visitors than Cumbria and the Lake District – evidence the fact that our Lancashire economy is driving forward at a rate of knots.“We are seeing green shoots of economic growth finally developing into healthy funding and investment requirements from really great businesses in Lancashire,” says Mark Schofield, director, Haworths Chartered Accountants and president of the North West Society of Chartered Accountants.
“All of this business activity is supported by a range of development plans and initiatives to support growth in the region such as the Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal that addresses the infrastructure issues that will release the economic potential of core locations through a £340m investment and delivery programme.“The Lancashire Growing Places Fund has fully committed its allocation of £20m to support economic infrastructure and will invest recycled funds through a second wave of activity. So far, it has attracted £100m of additional investment, supporting the creation of 3,000 new jobs and over 400,000 sq ft of new business space.
“The Lancashire Enterprise Zone will focus on our advanced engineering and manufacturing sector. It will promote research and development capability and support supply chain and skills development activity, acting as the focal point for a network of centres of excellence across Lancashire. The first occupiers will be on site this year.“Support for growth orientated SMEs is being provided through BOOST, Lancashire’s Growth Hub, which brings together £40m of programmes, including £6m ERDF, to support high growth companies and start-ups delivering 2000 jobs.”
Edwin Booth, chair of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP), says:“2015 is shaping up to be a promising year for businesses in Lancashire.“Almost nine out of ten Lancashire businesses (86 per cent) are planning to create new jobs in 2015 compared to 68 per cent with the same intention last year, according to a recent survey conducted by Boost Business Lancashire.
“Creating jobs means that businesses are growing, and when businesses are growing they need access to finance.“It’s important for businesses to have access to the right finance at the right time.
“There are many sources for the funding you need to support your growth aspirations, and it’s important to do your research before approaching funders. Not all forms of finance are suitable for every type of business. Going to the most suitable provider also saves you time and money.“The LEP is focussed on providing opportunities to maximise growth and job creation across the whole of the county.
“If you have ambitions to grow your business, we’re keen to partner with you in your pursuit of success. We want to help give people the tools and vision to create wealth and employment in Lancashire.“Alongside finance, it’s important that your business is ready to grow, to take advantage of exciting opportunities as they come along.
“You can get support from Boost Business Lancashire, our £7.2m Lancashire Business Growth Hub, developed by the LEP and Lancashire County Council.“This feature includes some great examples of how finance is helping businesses in Lancashire, along with various finance options.” To view the Funding Guide in full from LBV 61 Mar/Apr 2015, please click here.