European cash has swelled a North East business growth fund by an additional £1m.
Originally Investment for Growth had been due to end this summer but extra money from the European Regional Development Fund will enable it to run until the end of the year. It is estimated that a further 130 companies will be supported as a result of the cash boost.
Karen Jones, project manager at Investment for Growth, said: “We’re delighted that the project has been extended and it gives us an opportunity to support even more regional SMEs.
“We’re estimating that the additional investment will allow us to help a number of businesses up to the end of this year. However, based on our experience to date, it could be that the fund is fully committed earlier than that.
“We continue to receive a steady stream of new applications, so we would encourage businesses to talk to us at the earliest opportunity.”
Investment for Growth has already helped more than 1,000 North East businesses to create and safeguard over 2,000 jobs. Managed by BE Group, the scheme provides grants of up to 40% of the total project value.
Eligible projects include business planning, development of quality management systems, environmental and efficiency programmes, website design and development, technical designs and change management projects.
Ms Jones continued: “Potential applicants shouldn’t be nervous of discussing their plans for the future with us.
“Investment for Growth is a direct route to financial assistance – it’s a grant so it’s non-repayable – and our team of business advisors walk you through the application process every step of the way, making it very quick and simple.”
Eligible businesses must be based in the North East, employ fewer than 250 people, have a turnover of less than 50 million euros and trade on a business-to-business basis.