New loan funding to enable business growth

16 July 2014

 The Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership is today launching the Growing Places Fund Round 3 with up to £6m available for businesses to access loan funding.

The LEP’s Growing Places Fund provides loans for projects that will create economic growth and employment opportunities and is open to businesses of all sizes based or looking to invest in the City Region.

The Fund can provide loans to businesses that can demonstrate growth opportunities but need a cash injection to realise their ambitions. Funding will be allocated to business that may need to purchase or upgrade property and equipment or infrastructure projects that can demonstrate they will accelerate economic growth, create jobs and be more resource efficient.
Roger Marsh, Chair of the LEP said:

“Enabling business growth is a key priority for the LEP and alongside the funding secured in theLocal Growth Deal last week, I am delighted we have been able to launch a further round of loan funding to ensure this priority becomes a reality.

“The Growing Places Fund has already proved a great success with businesses in the region, kick-starting the transformation of derelict sites and creating thousands of employment opportunities. Businesses have turned a corner and are looking to deliver their ambitious growth plans and the LEP is poised to accelerate this growth.”

Councillor Keith Wakefield, Leader of Leeds City Council and Chair of the LEP’s Investment Panel commented:
“The successful applicants of previous rounds of Growing Places Funding demonstrate that there is a need for this type of finance offer to deliver good growth. Many of the projects that have been accelerated as a result of this funding have created fantastic jobs and provided apprenticeship opportunities for our young people.”

The Growing Places Fund launched in 2012 when loans worth £35m were committed to business projects. The prompt repayment of some of these loans has enabled Round 3 of this programme to launch. One such business that took advantage of the LEP support was Yorkshire Design Services (YDS) who were the first organisation to receive an allocation from the Fund and have been the first to fully repay it entirely.

Paul Ellison, Operations Director at YDS said:
“We put the GPF funding to use as finance for the remediation of our 7.5 acre site close to the city centre. This process allowed us to secure over £40 million of development investment for educational uses on the site and thoroughly establish the regeneration of the South Bank area of Leeds.
“YDS are grateful that the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership shared our vision for regeneration and recognised the potential for changing the fortunes of this neglected part of the city. Our experience of dealing with the GPF team was at all times positive, and we greatly appreciated the no-nonsense approach of the straightforward application process.”

Peter Henry, Technical Director at Harworth Estates who were awarded a loan for the Prince of Wales Colliery site in Pontefract said:
“The receipt of a Growing Places Fund loan from the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership has meant that we have been able to unlock the regeneration and subsequent redevelopment of land that was formally the site of the Prince of Wales Colliery in Pontefract far sooner than would ordinarily be achievable for a brownfield site of this nature. The extensive remediation work undertaken will mean that the house builders we select to take forward development will be able to begin the construction of new homes from early 2015 – helping to meet the urgent demand for new homes across the region. In addition, substantial employment land will be unlocked to support the ongoing growth of the local economy.”

The Growing Places Fund makes up a wider funding offer from the LEP which includes further loan and grant funding. The LEP’s Business Growth Programme provides grants between £10,000 and £500,000 to businesses across the LEP’s key sectors and has so far supported over 250 businesses. In the recent Growth Deal announcement, the LEP secured a further £8m for this Programme to support businesses in the region create jobs and enable good growth.

The Growing Places Fund will provide loans from £500,000 up to £1m. The Fund requires £3 of private funding to be levered in, for every £1 of loan. In the previous two rounds of funding, over 2000 short and long term jobs were created and 15 new apprenticeship positions. Alongside employment opportunities, the funding has secured over £100m private sector match funding that has been invested in the region.

The LEP’s Revolving Investment Fund (RIF) provides loans over £1m to commercially viable infrastructure and construction projects such as housing, factories or commercial development. The RIF has been established to fill gaps in funding, especially where conventional sources of finance are insufficient or unavailable. The Fund is available to businesses based or looking to invest in the City Region.

Follow Chamber International on Twitter @ChamberInt