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Britain's Energy Coast has launched a brand new “Investing in Business” programme which could help create and safeguard more than 1,000 jobs and unlock £31m of private sector investment in West Cumbria.
West Cumbria’s economic development organisation is now inviting business of any size, including start-ups, to apply for a slice of the £6.6m of funding that is being made available through the programme for investment in fixed assets such as land, buildings, plant and equipment as well as Research and Development.
The programme is targeted at businesses involved in manufacturing, processing, engineering and fabrication activities with special emphasis on businesses in West Cumbria’s nuclear and renewable energy supply chain, and tourism attractions.
Grants of £10,000 upwards will be available up for businesses currently operating in Allerdale and Copeland or to companies looking to move to the area. The programme will run for 15 months with the deadline for applications on September 30, 2013.
The full criteria for applicants along with an expression of interest form (which needs to be completed before a full application is made) are available to download at www.britainsenergycoast.co.uk.
The launch of Investing in Business follows confirmation that BEC’s £5.6m bid to the Government’s Regional Growth Fund (RGF) has successfully passed the stringent due diligence process. This has been matched by £1m of funding from BEC via funding partners the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.
David Jones, Head of Projects, Energy & Business Support at Britain’s Energy Coast, said: “The ability to offer businesses and inward investors financial support on this scale sends out a clear message that West Cumbria is open for business. Our support will help create and secure more than a thousand jobs and unlock over £30m worth of further private sector investment – which is great news during these tough economic times. This area is facing unprecedented levels of investment in the energy sector so it is important we are able to help our businesses and newcomers to capitalise on the opportunities this will create.”
He added: “A lot of hard work has gone into securing the money from the Regional Growth Fund and this has largely been because of the strong partnerships we have forged nationally with the Department of Business Innovation and Skills, and locally through Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership. This demonstrates the scope of our work and the power of working together to achieve common goals.”
Rt Hon Brian Wilson, Chair of Britain’s Energy Coast, said: “I’m delighted that we have secured £5.6m from the Regional Growth Fund and that this now allows us to launch a sizeable investment programme to help create a more entrepreneurial West Cumbria. On top of our recent £5.3m investment in a number of capital schemes utilising funding from the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and Nuclear Management Partners, the momentum behind BEC’s work continues at a growing pace.”
John Clarke, Chief Executive of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and a member of the BEC Board, added: “This scheme will play an important role in both protecting and growing the West Cumbrian economy as it provides direct support to further develop local Small and Medium Enterprises. Link to that the ability the scheme has to attract significant private sector investment it becomes excellent example of how we, as a nuclear funding partnership, can work with BEC to maximise the impact of our socio economic contribution to the West Cumbrian economy and help meet the aspirations of the recently launched Economic Blueprint.”
Applicants must submit an expression of interest before progressing to a formal application. All applications must be sent to BEC by September 30, 2013 and all claims must be submitted by December 31, 2013. Decisions on projects under £250,000 will be made by BEC’s Strategy & Project Delivery Committee while decisions on projects over £250,000 will be made by BEC’s full Board.
For full information on the process of applying and for advice and help visit www.britainsenergycoast.co.uk.