In Business growth and finance, Funding, Innovation, News

Innovation, high growth businesses and reducing flood risks headline a new £26m call for applications from the European Union in the North East.

The latest round of European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) investment earmarked for the region seeks expert partners to deliver maximum return on the £26m cash pot.

The North East Local Enterprise Partnership works closely with Government to ensure that the European Funding allocation is aligned to projects that help deliver the North East Strategic Economic Plan.

The latest funding round consists of:

 

• Up to £16m to promote research and innovation. The North East LEP has a goal of making the region an innovation hotspot in Europe.

Investment will concentrate on backing companies working in the North East’s four ‘smart specialisation’ areas of passenger vehicle manufacturing, subsea and offshore technology, life sciences and healthcare and creative and digital industries

• Up to £2.5m to enhance the competitiveness of small and medium sized firms. This investment is looking to increase the density of high growth SMEs in the North East LEP area.

These firms have a disproportionately high positive impact on regional growth – in 2014 it is estimated the North East had 600 high growth companies with a combined turnover of £2.4bn and 21,000 employees. A 25% increase on 2014’s figure could generate an extra £186m of regional GVA and create nearly 4,000 new jobs

• Up to £8.6m to address specific environmental risks, ensuring disaster resilience and developing disaster management systems.

In the North East LEP area there is a determination to reduce the risks from flooding and climate change. Local partners are being sought to find innovative and new ways to reduce flood and erosion risk to economic infrastructure and businesses, enabling them to survive, thrive and grow.

Andrew Hodgson, North East LEP Chair, said: “The UK is still very much in the European Union and until we leave it, the North East LEP is determined to take the maximum opportunities for the regional economy from the investment offered by the ERDF programme.

“This new funding call presents a real opportunity for North East businesses and organisations which I urge them to pursue if they have a viable project which meets ERDF objectives.

“I would urge companies and organisations wanting to know more to visit the North East LEP website for more information.”

The North East LEP will be holding an information event giving more detail about the calls on 5 January 2017. To register to attend the event, please click here.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond has extended the European Union funding guarantee to the point of Brexit, confirming that the Government will honour European Structural and Investment Fund (ESIF) projects signed before Britain leaves the EU.

The 2014-2020 ESIF are planned to inject more than £437m into the North East. ERDF is part of the total ESIF North East allocation.

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Ryan Gibson