Applications open for £17m European funding pot to support business
More than £17 million of European funding is being made available for projects which promote economic growth and create jobs across the Marches.
Applications are now being invited for projects focused on research and innovation, business competitiveness, low carbon and information communication technology (ICT).
The largest amount of funding on offer is £9.5m allocated to helping the region’s small and medium-sized enterprises to become more competitive. And £2.6m has been allocated to improve connectivity by extending broadband deployment.
Projects being considered for the business competitiveness funding need to promote entrepreneurship, support the creation of products, services and development and growth in regional, national and international markets.
SME competitiveness is one of four themes identified as priorities for funding in the Marches European Structural and Investment Strategy (ESIF). 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 £17m of that pot is now available for this second round of applications to the European Regional Development Fund.
Councillor Roger Phillips, Chairman of the Marches ESIF Committee, said: “The Marches Local Enterprise Partnership area’s plan for growth is driven by the needs of our businesses and community.
“The funding this area is getting from the new programme will play an important part in delivering our vision for the area. Having agreed the local priorities for using this funding and moving our economy forward, we can now get on with making sure we invest the money in projects that deliver growth and jobs in The Marches.”
There is £3m available for projects which promote research and innovation and business investment and a further £2m to support a shift towards a low carbon economy.
This includes promoting the production and distribution of energy derived from renewable resources, promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy use in enterprises and adoption of low carbon technologies.
The application criteria are set out in the application information available on the Government portal at https://www.gov.uk/european-structural-investment-funds. There is an online application system.