Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg has called on businesses to put forward ‘high quality’ bids for a slice of the latest Regional Growth Fund allocation.
A new round of the Regional Growth Fund (RGF) has opened, freeing up a £350 million cash pile for companies to bid for.
The RGF, a £2.6 billion fund operating throughout England from 2011 to 2016, aids ventures which lever private sector investment to create economic growth.
The additional funding allocation was part of chancellor George Osborne’s 2012 Autumn Statement address and will see businesses bidding for a minimum of £1 million.
To date the fund has allowed 180 projects to get started and deputy prime minister Nick Clegg says that the initiative is already proving to be a ‘shrewd investment’.
‘There’ll be stiff competition, and we can only invest in those projects that will lead to sustainable jobs and the best value for money,’ he adds.
‘Boosting jobs and growth is our number on priority in Britain right now.’
Statistics from the Department of Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) reveals that the first three rounds of the fund have pledged to create or safeguard some 500,000 jobs along with an injection of £13 billion private sector cash.
Submissions for round four of the RGF will close on 20 March, with ‘expression of interest’ events in different regions around England attempting to drum up appetite.
Business minister Michael Fallon says that the RGF is playing a ‘pivotal role’ in supporting business and enterprise.
‘Jobs are being created, money is being invested and the fund is making a difference,’ Fallon comments.
‘This additional round and the improved processes we have put in pace will help keep the momentum going.’
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To coincide with the launch of the fourth round, Clegg visited two companies that have secured capital from previous rounds.
Speaking on a tour of Surgical Innovations in Leeds, Clegg said, ‘Surgical Innovations secured £5.05 million of the fund which will see the firm catalysing health technologies for the city and create hundreds of jobs.
‘Just like in Yorkshire, local economies across the country are seeing the direct benefits of this funding through new jobs and additional investment. That is what the Regional Growth Fund is all about.’
Confirmed expression of interest events:
North West 31 January – Manchester
West Midlands 6 February – Birmingham
Yorkshire and Humber 19 February – Leeds
North East 20 February – Gateshead
East Midlands 25 February – Nottingham
More details of the Regional Growth Fund and information on bidding can be found here.