Projects which will promote economic growth and create jobs across the Marches could benefit from a share of more than £11 million of European funding.

LogoESIF_Col_LandscapeApplications are being invited for projects focused on research and innovation, business competitiveness, low carbon and information communication technology (ICT).

The four themes have been identified as priorities for funding in the Marches .  This was developed by the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership following consultation with stakeholders, partners, the business community and the voluntary and charitable sector.

The LEP is the private sector-led organisation working with the local councils in Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin, to help grow prosperity and create jobs.

The region has been allocated a total of around £105m of European money for projects being delivered between 2014 and 2020 and just over £11m of that pot is now available for the first round of applications to the European Regional Development Fund.

Local Growth Minister Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon today opened the application process saying that around £2.9 billion is available for UK projects over the next six years.

“Local partners and organisations will play a key role in determining the priorities for directing this money to where it will be best used for ensuring growth and innovation across our local communities.

“This new round of funding will help many new and growing businesses to create jobs that will benefit the wider local area and the economy in general.”

The maximum budgets per theme allocated to the launch call for the Marches are £3m each for research and innovation and SME competitiveness, £2.6m for ICT which includes broadband projects and £2.5m for projects to boost the low carbon economy.

Councillor Roger Phillips, Chairman of the Marches ESIF Committee, said: “For the launch calls, Government is only inviting projects that are seeking £500,000 or more in ERDF funding. However, there are opportunities for collaborative bids and projects that cover more than one LEP area and we anticipate the launch call will drum up a lot of interest.

“Much discussion is taking place around potential activity that could be supported through the new programme and we expect that the launch calls will lead to a good deal of strong proposals coming forward.”

The application criteria are set out in the call templates available on the Government portal at https://www.gov.uk/european-structural-investment-funds. There is an online application system.

ERDF can provide up to a maximum of 60 per cent of a project’s funding in Shropshire and Telford and 50 per cent of a project’s funding in Herefordshire.

Prospective applicants are advised to contact the Marches Technical Assistance Team (gary.spence@shropshire.gov.uk, hannah.owen@shropshire.gov.uk or call 01743 252976) for advice and support.

Posted in LEP News, News on 27th March 2015

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