£20m investment awarded to boost local business growth and opportunity

Ten projects across the South East Midlands (SEMLEP) area were awarded funding through SEMLEP’s Local Growth Fund this week.

More, good quality commercial space for businesses to collaborate and grow and developing a local talent pipeline of people to meet the needs of employers are two priority actions highlighted in the emerging Local Industrial Strategy for the South East Midlands, due to be published later in the Spring.

The Local Enterprise Partnership’s role is to enhance and promote the area’s economic prosperity and help address challenges and constraints faced by businesses. Through their capital investment programme, the Local Growth Fund, SEMLEP invests in projects that improve business productivity, develop local skills in line with employers’ needs and enhance the infrastructure – digital, physical and cultural– to create good quality places where people want to live and work.

Successful projects awarded funding include:

- a new enterprise centre in East Northamptonshire which will provide modern, flexible work, networking spaces and support for businesses

- the regeneration of a derelict building to create a business, skills and innovation centre next to the Luton Enterprise Zone area near London Luton Airport. This will redevelop 1,700 sq m office accommodation for small business and Incubator space as well as provide training facilities for new and existing businesses in the area.

- A STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths) centre of excellence based at Mark Rutherford School in Bedford, which will develop bespoke teaching space for mixed age groups of students from across Bedford Borough area, including a lecture hall to promote interest in STEAM-related subjects, linking in with the school’s planetarium.

- Contributing to the delivery of a new YMCA facility in Milton Keynes with affordable housing and employment and training facilities for nearly 200 young people. The funding will support the constructing and fitting out a café, nursery and meeting rooms.

Peter Horrocks CBE, Chair of SEMLEP said,

“The South East Midlands is an area of great business potential. The funding decisions made by the Board today will contribute to delivering our area’s growth ambitions and the variety of projects that were successful in the funding competition shows the huge opportunity our area creates.

“The projects announced today will supporting our young people to become the innovators of the future and, will create the good quality places that will benefit our communities and businesses for many years to come.”

Speaking about the award for the Enterprise Centre East Northants, Leader of East Northamptonshire Council, Cllr Steven North, said,

“We are delighted to have received funding from the SEMLEP Growth Fund to deliver this innovative flagship centre, which will provide flexible units, business support and virtual office space for local businesses.

“This is an exciting time for East Northants as we see work start on site next month and this development take shape. I would encourage start-ups and small to medium sized enterprises to get in touch and register their interest today.”

Details of projects currently funded through SEMLEP’s Local Growth Fund are available on SEMLEP’s website.

The funding announcements made this week, followed an open bidding round for applications in the Autumn 2018. Further projects that applied will be considered by the SEMLEP Board at its next meeting in July 2019, following completion of additional due diligence and project appraisal processes.

Full project appraisal criteria and processes and how the Board makes its funding decisions are set out in SEMLEP’s assurance framework.