West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Investment Committee has confirmed its backing to push forward four business support programmes.
Chaired by Cllr Peter Box, leader of Wakefield council, the committee supported two schemes to progress: The Access Innovation Programme and The Strategic Business Growth Programme.
Access Innovation Programme
This £9m programme will provide grants of between £2,000 and £50,000 to support innovation projects for ‘growth-orientated’ small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
It is hoped the scheme will create or safeguard almost 100 jobs and create or assist nearly 450 businesses over its lifetime.
Scheme funding will come from the European Regional Development Fund, Local Growth Fund Access to Capital Grants programme and private sector match funding.
Strategic Business Growth Programme
This £7m programme will focus on SMEs with aspirations to grow in the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP)’s priority sectors.
The priority sectors include: manufacturing, low carbon and environmental, financial and business services, digital and creative and health, and life sciences.
The support provided will include tailored advice along with grants to grow and create new jobs.
The committee also welcomed progress towards two further schemes approved since the last Investment Committee meeting in July.
These include an inward investment fund designed to help grow the region’s economy by funding investment projects within the LEP’s priority sectors and a business growth programme.
This £9m scheme will provide grants of between £10,000 and £250,000 to accelerate investment, fill funding gaps, increase the size or change location of an investment for businesses also within the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership’s priority sectors.
The funding is expected to create more than 500 new jobs in the Leeds City Region and support 160 businesses.
Cllr Peter Box, Investment Committee chair and leader of Wakefield Council, said:
“Supporting business growth will help unlock the vast potential of the Leeds City Region economy.
“Each support programme backed today will increase the number of better quality and better paid jobs available for local people and make our businesses more competitive nationally and globally.
“We are the largest City Region economy outside of London and the South East and recently recorded our highest levels of Foreign Direct Investment in the EY Attractiveness Survey 2017.
“However, it is essential that we continue to invest in our local businesses and support those who want to invest in us to ensure we continue to thrive and grow in the future.”
Roger Marsh OBE, Chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP), said:
“Our LEP Growth Service has already helped more than 3,200 businesses get the support they need to grow and develop since July 2015.
“The Combined Authority's backing of these new programmes will broaden our support offer to firms across Leeds City Region – particularly in the key areas of innovation and business finance – and take us closer to our goal of being the best place in the country to start up, locate or grow a business.
“I strongly encourage businesses with ambitions to grow to contact our Growth Service team to find out about the full range of support available.”