Home / Funding / Page 7

Strategic Economic Infrastructure Fund (SEIF) – Capital Project Call

The competitive capital funding call for the Strategic Economic Infrastructure fund (SEIF) is now open again until 25 March.

The Call plans to commit and spend £1.46m on projects that can substantially spend and deliver outputs in 2016/17 and fully complete by March 2018. Projects may claim for project costs after approval from 2016 to the end of March 2018.

The fund is designed to stimulate investment in the development of business infrastructure in rural areas, including premises for new micro enterprises, small firms needing move-on accommodation, and facilities for larger and growing businesses. It will also support investment in strategic tourism assets, transforming the quality and added value of the rural tourism economy, as well as supporting infrastructure works needed to unlock employment development sites.

There are no firm minimum and maximum grant thresholds. However, indicatively projects requiring less than £40,000 grant will have to clearly demonstrate strategic impact in their community and why other rural funding, including new rural Leader programmes may be unavailable to support such projects. Any project seeking over circa £500,000 would need to be clearly of regional importance to the rural economy and able to offer a range of economic benefits beyond a local level.

Applicants must provide a minimum of 60% match funding and will need to comply with State Aid rules. If work has already started on a project it is ineligible for SEIF support.

The Rural Growth Network invites project applications that are a strong fit with the guidance, can progress quickly if selected, are able to commence and make significant progress on site in 2016/17 and are physically located within the North East RGN operational boundary.

Please see the Project Call Guidance document to check the eligibility of projects. If you consider your project to be eligible and would like an application form to apply or you require further clarification please contact:
Julie Bullen, RGN Implementation Officer: [email protected] Tel: 01670 528476

The deadline for submission of Stage 1 applications is 12.00 noon 25th March.

Further information on the RGN programme can be found by following the link below:-
http://www.archnorthumberland.co.uk/arch-business/rural-growth-network-2-1

Additional rural grant funding opportunities:-

Rural Business Growth Fund (RBGF)
Due to high demand the Rural Business Growth Fund is now closed to further applications for 2016/2017.

Funding is expected to be available from April 2017 onwards and a further call for projects will be made in late autumn 2016 for this funding.

Other Rural Funding Opportunities

LEADER
LEADER funding is available for rural businesses across Northumberland, Gateshead and County Durham. The LEADER programme aims to fund farmers, foresters and other local rural businesses and communities to help develop enterprises within rural areas, create jobs and support the rural economy.

Successful applications must contribute to one of the following LEADER priorities:
· Farm productivity
· Forestry
· Micro/ small business and farm diversification
· Rural tourism
· Rural services
· Culture and Heritage

For more information visit:-

· Northumberland Uplands – www.nuleader.eu
· Northumberland Coast and Lowlands – www.leadercoastandlowlands.org.uk

EAFRD – Tourism and Business Support Grant Programmes
Grant programmes are currently delayed and further information will not be forthcoming until the spring.

Home / Funding / Page 7

Paul Woolston to stand down as LEP Chair

Paul Woolston, who has led the North East LEP since its formation nearly five years ago, is to leave his post together with several colleagues in a number of changes to the board.

Paul, a former senior partner at Price Waterhouse Coopers, has led the LEP board as chair since the organisation was created in 2011. He will formally leave his post as chair at the next LEP board meeting on January 28 when his replacement will be announced.

Under his successful leadership, the North East LEP has:

• Delivered the North East Independent Economic Review led by Lord Adonis. This allowed the LEP to formulate the Strategic Economic Plan setting out how to achieve the economic growth needed to deliver 100,000 new and better jobs over the next decade

• Secured £1.5bn in central Government and European funding to finance new economic growth

• Retained the crucial £120m JEREMIE 2 business support fund in the North East, to be invested exclusively into scores of new and growing North East companies

• Successfully bid for two Enterprise Zones covering a total of 20 sites across the region. The first zone has created more than 1,200 new jobs to date, with a lot more to come, and the second zone is anticipated to deliver a further 14,000 jobs.

• Appointed the North East’s first innovation director – acclaimed entrepreneur and business leader Hans Moller – to oversee the investment of £125m to support creativity and dynamism in the region’s growing business base

• Established effective public-private sector advisory boards to stimulate innovation, business growth and skills development

• Created the North East Growth Hub – the comprehensive online resource for business advice, funding information, networking, news and events.

Paul said now was the time to stand down from his post and make way for a new chair.

“The timing is right for a new chair to lead the North East LEP forward at an exciting time in its development and for the region,” said Paul.

“We are entering a new year with a devolution deal for the North East agreed with Government and the combined authority, which will mean a new role for the LEP.”

Three further business board members will also step down as part of the LEP’s plan to stagger its board member leaving and replacement process, keeping experienced members in place to support newcomers.

Businesswoman Gill Southern stepped down from the LEP board just before Christmas, while Michael Bellamy and Arnab Basu will also leave the board as soon as replacement members are recruited.

As part of a rotation of duties, Northumbria University Vice-Chancellor Andrew Wathey and Jon Vincent, Principal and Chief Executive of TyneMet College, have both recently been appointed to the board to replace Anne Isherwood and Peter Fidler.

Paul added: “I would like to thank our business board members who have all really made a difference to what the LEP does, as well as Edward Twiddy and Helen Golightly for their executive leadership.

“Their intellect, innovation and energy means we have been able to turn a great strategy into great decision-making for the North East economy.

“Strong business representation is crucial to the long-term success of the North East LEP and I would urge businesspeople to help shape the region’s future by applying for a place on the board.

“I am genuinely proud of what we have achieved. Initiating the Adonis Review enabled us to produce the Strategic Economic Plan for the region.

“It is absolutely transformational and it is being adopted and embedded in the region to drive future economic success.

“The North East LEP has attracted an enormous amount of funding, £1.5bn, which is being allocated now to implement the Strategic Economic Plan.

“Our challenge now as a region is to eliminate the persistent economic gap between ourselves and other regions of the UK.”

Andrew Hodgson, North East LEP Vice Chair, said: “Under Paul’s leadership, the North East LEP has secured significant funding from Europe and Government to underpin vital economic development.

“He has helped build and establish the LEP in a changing political landscape and worked hard with the most senior levels of Government to ensure the North East’s Strategic Economic Plan is understood and supported.”

Arnab Basu said “It has been a privilege to serve alongside Paul on the LEP board since its beginning. He has been a tireless champion of the north east and I wish him well in the future.

“After five years it is only right that we make way for others to carry the mantle forward. The North East has such a vibrant and thriving business community and I have no doubt the new members will have brighter, fresher ideas and contribute fully to the vital task carried out by the LEP. I will look forward to following their success with great interest.”

Gill said: “I will continue to be a strong advocate of the North East LEP’s activity and work hard to ensure North East business seizes the maximum benefits a new political landscape will present.”

Councillor Simon Henig, Chair of the North East Combined Authority and Leader of Durham County Council, said: “Paul has created a strong foundation for the North East to move into a new phase as we work towards proposed devolution and an elected Mayor.”

Businesspeople interested in applying for a board member post at the North East LEP should contact Jim Allcroft at NRG. Email: [email protected] or Tel: 0191 2604483.

Home / Funding / Page 7

North East LEP votes to keep £120m fund under regional control

A crucial £120m business support fund will be invested exclusively into scores of North East companies after the North East LEP voted to keep it under local control.

The Treasury has backed the LEP board’s decision to keep the new JEREMIE 2 fund in the North East and not become part of the new Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund unveiled in yesterday’s Comprehensive Spending Review.

The LEP was asked by the Government to decide on JEREMIE 2’s future.

The original JEREMIE programme has been a spectacular success.

Known more commonly by business as the Finance for Business North East Fund, it has invested £140m in equity and loans from its North East base over the past five years into more than 800 local small and medium-sized firms.

The LEP understands the importance of keeping the JEREMIE scheme live. It has agreed an extra £4.5m from its North East Investment Fund to be pumped into the original JEREMIE fund to keep it running as normal until the new £120m JEREMIE 2 opens for business in the North East late next year.

Helen Golightly, North East LEP Chief Operating Officer, said: “We believe the decision we have taken to keep the JEREMIE fund administered from a North East base exclusively for investment in North East businesses, is the best option for the region.

“We have a tried, tested and highly successful funding eco-system in place which has delivered outstanding results for many North East companies, and we want to preserve and build on those foundations.”

The new JEREMIE 2 fund is likely to be branded as part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund, but will be a separate North East pot of cash.

The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund has £400m which will be invested in firms across the North West, Yorkshire and Humberside and Tees Valley.

The British Business Bank will run it from Sheffield.

Paul Woolston, North East LEP Chair, said: “The LEP has lobbied hard to ensure JEREMIE 2 remains North East based, North East run and fully invested into North East companies.

“JEREMIE is a huge success story for our region. It made no sense to take such an enormous leap in the dark to let its successor JEREMIE 2 leave the region when we have the proven track record of exceptional delivery and return on our investment right here.

“Our decision is excellent news for the North East economy. The new fund will be delivered in the North East as its predecessor was, through proven delivery channels with the repaid loan funding all being pumped back into even more growing local businesses.”

The North East LEP has committed a substantial proportion of its European structural funds to support the development of JEREMIE 2 along with match funding from the European Investment Bank.

It is hoped in time that the JEREMIE fund programme will become an ‘evergreen fund’, self-sustaining through the reinvestment of paid loans into even more new firms.

North East Finance is the holding fund manager for the Finance for Business North East fund, operating from offices in Grey Street, Newcastle.

The fund has helped create more than 2,600 new jobs, safeguard a further 3,000 and secure £180m in private sector investment.

Home / Funding / Page 7

Rural Growth Network Grant Programme funding for 2016/2017 covering rural Durham, Gateshead and Northumberland

A project call for Expression of Interest to the Rural Business Growth Fund (RBGF) is now open for applications.

This is one of two new Rural Growth Network (RGN) funding schemes funded by the North East Local Enterprise Partnership.

This capital fund is designed to boost enterprise and business growth through expansion of productivity or diversifying into new markets or products across much of rural Northumberland, County Durham and Gateshead.

Grant support will be directed at micro, small and medium sized businesses with growth plans. Priority will be for businesses operating in target sectors within the North East Rural Growth Network (NE RGN) area.

Grants will be available at 40% of eligible costs from a minimum of £10,000 to £60,000, subject to state aid.

Activities which can be supported include:

• Improvements/upgrade/expansion of business premises
• Purchase of capital plant and equipment

Priority sectors include:

• Manufacturing
• Knowledge Intensive Businesses
• Renewable Energy
• Environment
• Food and Drink and High Value Tourism (Tourism accommodation projects are not included due to alternative funding sources.)

Projects will have until 31st December to submit a completed Expression of Interest.

It is a competitive process and applications are invited from projects that are well-developed, are a good fit with the eligibility criteria and capable of starting spending in 2016.

Selected projects will be asked to progress at risk to Stage 2.

Final decisions will be made in April 2016, which will enable successful projects to commence.

For more information and to read summary guidance on RBGF, please visit: http://www.archnorthumberland.co.uk/north-east-rural-growth-network/rural-growth-network-news-events/ or contact Louise Liddle, RGN Implementation Officer on [email protected] or call 01670 528458.

It is anticipated that a further call for RBGF projects will be issued in February 2016.

Please note this fund will be in addition to the Strategic Economic Infrastructure Fund (SEIF). A Call for SEIF projects is currently open and more information is available here http://bit.ly/1PrSwjq

Home / Funding / Page 7

Strategic Economic Infrastructure Fund (SEIF) – Capital Project Call

The first call for the Year 2 Strategic Economic Infrastructure Fund (SEIF) is now open (closing date: 23 November 2015). This current call intends to allocate £1m of the budget subject to demand and fund up to five or six projects.

The fund is designed to stimulate investment in the development of business infrastructure in rural areas, including premises for new micro enterprises, small firms needing move-on accommodation, and facilities for larger and growing businesses. It will also support investment in strategic tourism assets, transforming the quality and added value of the rural tourism economy, as well as supporting infrastructure works needed to unlock employment development sites.

There are no firm minimum and maximum grant thresholds. However, indicatively projects requiring less than £40,000 will have to clearly demonstrate strategic impact in their community and why other rural funding, including new rural Leader programmes, may be unavailable to support such projects. Any project seeking over circa £500,000 would need to be clearly of regional importance to the rural economy and able to offer a range of economic benefits beyond a local level.

Projects may claim for project costs between 2016/17 and 2017/18. Applicants must provide a minimum of 60% match funding and will need to comply with State Aid rules. If work has already started on a project it is ineligible for SEIF support.
The Rural Growth Network invites project applications that are a strong fit with the guidelines, can progress quickly if selected, are able to commence and make significant progress on site in 2016 and are physically located within the North East RGN operational boundary.

Please note deadlines specified must be adhered to as funding cannot be rolled over into future years. Stage 1 submissions MUST provide realistic timescales for delivery. RGN Executive will remove projects at Stage 2 if it discovers this is not the case.

Please see the Project Call Guidelines document to check the eligibility of projects. Please read these carefully and if you consider your project to be eligible and would like an application form to apply or you require further clarification please contact Julie Bullen, RGN Implementation Officer: [email protected] / Tel: 01670 528476

The deadline for submission of Stage 1 applications is 12.00 noon 23rd November 2015.

Further information on the RGN programme can be found here: http://www.archnorthumberland.co.uk/north-east-rural-growth-network/rural-growth-network-news-and-events/

Home / Funding / Page 7

2016-17 Horizon 2020 Energy Calls for Proposals

The 2016-17 Calls for Proposals from Horizon 2020 Energy are expected to be launched in late September/early October 2015. The exact content of the Calls has yet to be finalised but it is expected that the Calls will cover the following technology areas:

Topic area: Energy efficiency including heating and cooling, engaging consumers, buildings, industry, products, innovative financing
Budget for 2016: €93M

Topic area: Low carbon energy including smart grids, PV, wind, ocean, geothermal, biofuels and CCS
Budget for 2016: €350M

Topic area: Smart cities and communities
Budget for 2016: €60M

Information Days and Brokerage Event

The European Information Days on the new Calls will be held on 14th and 15th September in Brussels. The Information Days will cover all of the topics listed above, with more focused events taking place in October and November, see below. The September Information Days are now fully booked and a waiting list has been put in place. Details can be found at http://ec.europa.eu/research/index.cfm?pg=events&eventcode=0B56FA95-AFE0-D63B-DD0527FE301EC26C

The Information Days will be broadcast online and recorded so you will be able to access the information even if you are unable to attend the event.

A Brokerage Event will be held in conjunction with the Information Days on 16th September in Brussels. The Brokerage Event is an opportunity to arrange bi-lateral meetings with organisations from across Europe. You can upload your organisation profile, review those of others and arrange meetings on the event website at http://www.b2match.eu/energycall2016

The Commission is also holding Information Days on Energy Efficient Buildings and Smart Cities and Communities. These will be held in Brussels on 16th October and 6th November respectively. Details of the Energy Efficient Buildings event can be found at http://ec.europa.eu/research/index.cfm?pg=events&eventcode=15D37837-00DB-76EF-F5464112289AFF07

Details of the Smart Cities and Communities event will be available in September. For more information, please visit http://www.euenergyfocus.co.uk/newsletter/horizon-2020-update

For more information, please email [email protected] or [email protected] at RTC North Ltd.