The Journal today opens up its £30m growth fund to more new businesses after already backing 1,870 jobs.
Since its launch earlier this year, the campaign has paid out millions of pounds to North East firms looking to grow their business, safeguarding or creating jobs across the region.
A third round of applications are now invited to come forward after the Let’s Grow campaign notched up £14m of support for North East firms in under six months.
The £30m campaign sees The Journal award money from the Government’s flagship Regional Growth Fund. Already the campaign is outperforming its target, with 1,870 jobs having been created or safeguarded.
Companies in the next round are able to bid for grants of between £50,000 and £1m, towards the costs of investment projects costing £200,000 or more.
Last night former chief executive of Northumbrian Water John Cuthbert, chair of the Let’s Grow investment panel, urged firms to make their bid for the remaining cash.
He said: “We’ve had some really strong applications from a broad range of sectors. The businesses have all varied in size and there have been some very interesting projects to consider.
“But the fund certainly isn’t fully committed at this stage. Businesses who have projects in mind, but haven’t quite got all of the capital available, should apply.
“It’s a competition and it’s a limited fund. If a business has a project that meets the criteria, then they should not think about it for too long.”
The amount of support available depends on a number of factors such as the location of the project, the size of the company, the types of expenditure planned and the level of job impact.
In round one, 77 expressions of interest were received, with 48 of these converting into full applications. Of the 48 applications received, 42 have been approved, with £14.1m grant funding committed in principle.
The scheme set out to create or secure 2,275 jobs by December 2014, when the two-year campaign officially ends.
Journal editor Brian Aitken said: “Let’s Grow is proving to be an outstanding success. A brilliant team of people are helping to make sure that much-needed growth funding is getting to companies in most need.
“We were unsure what level of interest would be generated when we began the process and we have been knocked out by both the quality and quantity of entries since then.”
Working with The Journal on the campaign is business improvement company BE Group and chartered accountancy practice UNW.
Successful applicants must be either manufacturers or service sector firms offering more than a local service.
Simon Allen, senior project manager at BE Group, said: “After receiving some excellent applications in round one of the Let’s Grow programme, we are delighted to open the process for the second round of competition.
“The level of interest in the programme has been extremely high and we look forward to hearing about more businesses looking to invest in the growth of their business, so we can see if we can support them.”
Businesses keen to access the fund are urged complete an expression of interest online now at www.nebusiness.co.uk/letsgrow .
For general inquiries about Let’s Grow please call BE Group on 0191 426 6408.
£650,000 grant has opened the way to 60 more jobs
An engineering firm will create 60 jobs and extend its factory thanks to a £651,000 shot in the arm from The Journal’s Let’s Grow campaign.
Dyer Engineering, a precision machine manufacturer, is to invest £2.5m in expanding its base at Annfield Plain, County Durham, to complete all of its manufacturing business from a single site.
The firm currently operates out of a second 10,000sq ft factory in Washington, Tyne and Wear, and as a result of inefficiencies created by operating across two sites, the company wants to exit the Washington facility and increase the size and capabilities of its Annfield Plain premises instead.
Dyer Engineering set out ambitious plans to extend the factory by 19,000sq ft and invest £1m in new machinery.
The company applied for a £651,000 grant through the Let’s Grow campaign, the £30m Regional Growth Fund programme, which is backed by The Journal and is delivered by business improvement company BE Group and chartered accountancy practice UNW.
As a result 60 new skilled jobs will be created at the County Durham facility with a further £215,000 invested in upskilling the existing workforce.
Dyer Engineering holds a niche position in the market in its ability to complete all manufacturing from a single business. The company operates in a number of markets including oil and gas, offshore and renewables, automotive, defence, rail, mining, power generation and water and utilities.
Richard Bradley, finance director at Dyer Engineering, says investment in the company’s facilities and high-quality equipment will lead to a growth in turnover over the next two years.
“Operating across two sites is not efficient from a manufacturing point of view,” said Mr Bradley. “We’ve grown since the dark days of the recession and we’ve increased our turnover by around 30%.
“Our turnover currently stands at circa £8m and we’re looking to increase it by at least 50% over the next three years. This programme of investment will enable us to achieve those targets.
“We will be creating a varied range of jobs, ranging from apprentices in fabrication to highly skilled production engineers.”