Jobs on horizon with £7m Humber LEP funding scheme
HUNDREDS of jobs could be created across the region in 2013, thanks to the success of a £7-million-plus loan scheme.
Launched in October, the Humber LEP Business Loan Fund was designed to provide cash injections for projects that have stalled due to lack of investment.
The fund aimed to achieve economic growth and create jobs by helping development projects get off the drawing board.
Despite recent years seeing banks becoming increasingly risk-averse, there were fears the challenging economic climate would prevent local firms from applying, meaning the fund was not fully utilised.
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However, the Humber LEP said the number of quality applications to the fund shows there is a real appetite among firms to get the Humber region's economy growing – and quickly.
Richard Kendall, manager of the Humber LEP, confirmed the investment board had received 41 applications in total for almost £30 million of funding.
The total pot available amounts to just over £7 million and interviews are now under way to establish a shortlist of successful applicants.
Mr Kendall said: "We were always hoping it would be successful, as we wanted to direct investment into the local economy. After all, it is no good in our bank account.
"But when you launch any scheme, you never know how successful it is going to be. However, the Humber LEP investment board was encouraged by the quality of the applications.
"We have done something similar before and received about 30 applications, but this time the quality of applications this time was much better.
"The board was actually quite stunned some of the projects had not been able to secure funding from the banks."
Mr Kendall said the latest round of funding had seen a real mix of companies bidding for cash in order to create jobs locally – one of the key aims of the fund itself.
"The fund is crucially about job creation, so we were looking for projects ready to go now," he said.
"Some of the projects have been stuck on the drawing board for a number of years, whereas others that have come forward relate to schemes that have only been around for a year or so. But these are all successful local firms that are looking to grow.
"The applications we have had came from a range of sectors. There is a real mix and this is also reflected in the size of companies applying.
"We have received applications from locally-owned family businesses that have successfully gone through several generations and are still looking to grow, as well as companies formed in the past few years."
Humber LEP investment board member Stephen Savage was also impressed with the quality of applications, as reported by the Telegraph when the initial deadline passed.
Over the next few weeks, the applicants will be interviewed and each shortlisted project will then proceed to a process of due diligence.
The funding should then be unlocked by the end of February or beginning of March.