06 Jul 2022

Leicestershire firms trading b2b should take advantage of growth grant before it’s too late

Business Gateway

Business owners in Leicestershire are being urged to check if they are eligible for a growth grant from the Business Gateway Growth Hub before funds run out. Currently around £400,000 remains in the pot for the Business Growth Grant aimed at Leicester and Leicestershire’s SMEs with ambitions to grow.

Grants from £2,000 to £25,000 are available, providing a third of the project cost and come with the support of a dedicated business adviser throughout the application process.

The Business Gateway service was extended last year after receiving an additional £2 million to provide business support to Leicestershire businesses recovering from the effects of Covid19. It has helped 78 businesses with grants totalling around £1.5 million so far.

The free business support service is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund. The growth grant is managed by Leicester City Council which runs the service with partners Leicestershire County Council, East Midlands Chamber and the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP).

To be considered for this grant Leicester or Leicestershire-based businesses must have been running for 12 months, trade business-to-business, have fewer than 250 employees and be looking to grow, innovate and create jobs.

The grant could be used for:

  • New innovative technology products or services that improve business performance
  • Premises improvement or expansion-related to business development
  • New products or services
  • Upgrading capital equipment to enable a more technical or automated approach, or to reduce carbon emissions
  • Marketing or promotional activity or other revenue costs to help the business grow or create jobs.

*please note these are suggestions, the eligibility and scope of each individual project will need to be considered.

Reactive Components and Shahtex Leicester have benefited from the growth grant. Reactive Components is a product development consultancy for the composites market. It received £20,000 to set up a laboratory after the pandemic which had put a halt to the owner travelling to customer sites abroad. The grant was spent on technical equipment for the business.

Owner, Dr Yves Didier, commented: “I wanted to create some resilience in my business model. With the UK premises, I can now offer new services by taking on smaller one-off studies but also investigate technological areas which I couldn’t do before on a customer’s premises. They say one of the big strengths of being a relatively new business is the ability to react, but I don’t think I would have been able to react as well without the support of the grant. My recovery would have been a lot slower and this extra money has allowed me to be braver.”

With a £25,000 grant from the Business Gateway, knitted fabric supplier and manufacturer Shahtex Leicester invested in new computerised machinery which enables the family business to develop seamless garments.

Tejas Shah, Director (pictured with Adviser, Altaf Ahmed) said: “I was naturally wary about the grant and the support because I was thinking ‘what’s their ulterior motive?’ It took me two or three meetings to realise that the Business Gateway had no ulterior motive, they were there to help. In the end, the support we received was more than just the grant. Now I know it’s there, why would I let it go?!”

Rachel York, Business Gateway Manager added: “We’re in very tough trading conditions at the moment but standing still isn’t really an option for our local businesses if they want to survive.  If you’re an SME and think you have a growth project in mind, start a conversation with us now. We estimate this fund will probably be allocated by October or November this year, so it’s worth considering before the money runs out.”

Business owners or managers interested in the grant can find out more on the Business Gateway website. For information about free business support they can call 0116 366 8487 or email growthhub@bizgateway.org.uk