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East Midlands Chamber News

LLEP launches £13m funding opportunities


Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP) has released its final European Regional Development Funding (ERDF) calls. These are likely to be the final European funding calls before the UK exits the European Union.


The LLEP hosted an information event at Leicester’s City Hall this morning for organisations that can deliver ERDF-funded projects.


Since 2015, the LLEP has invested approximately £47.3m in local businesses, from start-ups looking for initial guidance, scale-ups seeking more specialist advice to large capital investments.


Major ERDF-funded projects have seen capital investments such as the University of Leicester’s Innovation Hub and Market Harborough’s grow-on space building take shape. The total amount of ERDF committed by the LLEP was £5.84m. However, these investments unlocked a further £6.65m, bringing the total across the two projects to almost £12.5m. These will see hundreds of square metres of new commercial space made available for the region, creating jobs and prosperity in both Leicester and Leicestershire.


As well as these major projects, ERDF has supported small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) to invest and grow by funding a range of business support initiatives. SMEs are the backbone of Leicester and Leicestershire, with 89% of businesses employing fewer than ten people. These businesses are a key focus of ERDF investment.


By targeting ERDF money in this way, the LLEP has unlocked a further £49.4m investment in our region. This has resulted in a huge, £96.7m boost to the local economy over the past four years. These final calls will build on this investment and ensure that Leicester and Leicestershire continue to prosper into the future.


Within the ERDF funding stream, there are four ‘priority axes’ (PA). These are key themes that projects must adhere to if they are to receive funding. PA-1 is centred around investment in innovative projects. PA-2, in ICT; PA-3, in SME competitiveness; and PA-4, in low carbon projects and technologies. These final ERDF calls will have a combined value of £13.07m.


As well as news on the final funding calls, the event at Leicester’s City Hall was a chance for delivery organisations and funding providers to hear the latest news on what the LLEP is doing to grow the economy of Leicester and Leicestershire. The Midlands Energy Hub, for example, is being set up to invest for the long term in green energy production for the region. Organisations interested in managing projects in this sector may therefore wish to secure funding through PA-4 (low carbon).


Attendees had a chance to ask any questions about the calls, and how they would be directed to get the best value for the local economy in Leicester and Leicestershire. There was also a workshop element, during which delegates could focus on the ERDF opportunities they’re most interested in and drill down into the nuts and bolts of the PAs.


Mandip Rai, LLEP Chief Executive and Chair of the ESIF committee, said: “ERDF funding is an extremely important local resource to support businesses to start-up and grow. The fund is targeted at improving access to finance, supporting business to adopt new technology and invest in much needed commercial space. The investment will deliver hundreds of new jobs as well as improve the performance of businesses across the area. With these final calls, the LLEP is encouraging further innovative proposals to be put forward to drive economic growth in Leicester and Leicestershire."


Kevin Harris, Chair of the LLEP Board and East Midlands Chamber President, said: “I’m very proud that the LLEP has had such great success in targeting ERDF investment in Leicester and Leicestershire, and excited to see the proposals for this final wave of funding. By working with external delivery organisations that have sector-specific expertise, the LLEP can ensure that these funds are invested where they are needed most, to reap the greatest benefit for our region. We want Leicester and Leicestershire to become national hubs for investment in areas such as low carbon technology, and these funding calls are a big part of that ambition.”