More than 500 small to medium-sized companies across the Leeds City Region are set to benefit from a £2m funding boost that will help them improve performance and identify opportunities to grow.
The Strategic Growth Programme, which covers firms that have been trading for more than three years, will deliver a package of bespoke support that will help them unleash their potential and overcome the challenges of an economy hit by Covid-19 and Brexit.
Delivered by Oxford Innovation Services on behalf of Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (the LEP), the initiative will use a High Growth digital assessment tool called GROWTHmapper to measure the maturity of the business and its potential for expansion.
This will deliver an action plan that addresses both barriers and opportunities, before a dedicated team of local Growth Managers will deliver assistance and brokered introductions to other business support, including capital grants.
Help with sales and marketing, productivity improvements, upskilling, digital technologies and international trade can all be supported through one-to-one coaching.
Martin Coats, Director at Oxford Innovation Services, commented: “All the media attention is on how big businesses are coping in the wake of Covid-19…it’s our job to look at how the smaller businesses (up to 250 employees) are doing and how they are utilising the support available to them, giving them access to expertise and funding to grow.
“We are delighted to be able to deliver this vital programme in the Leeds City Region and our aim is to support more than 500 companies over a two-year period to develop their growth opportunities.”
He continued: “Helping small to medium-sized firms isn’t easy and you need a tailored approach, delivered by experts who know what it is like working with these challenges.
“Our Growth managers have a long history of supporting SMEs meaning we understand them and the support required to drive local economic growth.
“The Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), local Growth Hubs and the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government have seen first-hand the value we add to firms through the Manufacturing Growth Programme and this has resulted in a further £2m commitment to support businesses until December 2022.”
The programme, which is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), received £500,000 of funding from the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP), delivered by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, through the Leeds City Region Growth Deal – a £1 billion package of Government investment to accelerate growth and create jobs across Leeds City Region.
Roger Marsh OBE DL, Chair of the Leeds City Region LEP, concluded: “I am delighted that, through the LEP Business Support Service, we are continuing to support small, ambitious businesses at this difficult time.
“The Strategic Growth Programme is a significant opportunity for companies to benefit from expert advice and funding to achieve their growth potential. I’d encourage all businesses to get in touch to find out how they can improve performance and identify opportunities to grow and contribute to an inclusive, resilient economic recovery.”
The Strategic Growth Programme is open to SMEs in Bradford, Calderdale, Craven, Harrogate, Kirklees, Leeds, Selby, Wakefield and York.