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First call to business to apply for new European funding

The North East Local Enterprise Partnership is calling for local organisations to apply for funding from the new European Programme, worth £460m to the local area.

The new 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme has just been launched by Government and the first local calls released for schemes to access early funding opportunities.

The funding programme offers huge opportunities for the North East economy, helping to fund major investment in projects driving local economic growth, creating new jobs and prosperity. Expert help is available through the LEP to help organisations understand the requirements they will need to meet to qualify for funding.

Grants to cover 50% of project costs are available – 60% in County Durham – for innovation and business support, revenue and capital schemes through the European Regional Development Fund while the European Social Fund will support employment and skills initiatives.

A call to launch the Youth Employment Initiative in County Durham is also being made using European funding. County Durham qualifies for an additional £7.7m from the EU’s Youth Employment Initiative to help people aged 15-24 to find work.

These priority themes are highlighted in the LEP’s Strategic Economic Plan which seeks to help the North East access and make the most of European Structural and Investment Funds.

The calls are the first in a series of opportunities for businesses and organisations to apply to the new European Programme, with more calls expected in summer 2015 and throughout the lifespan of the programme.

More information on North East local priorities is available through the LEP to help organisations understand the type of projects required to gain funding and local priorities projects will have to address to qualify for support.

Paul Woolston, North East LEP Chair, said: “Our allocation of European Structural and Investment Funds for 2014-2020 brings us an enormous opportunity.

“Key themes in our overarching Strategic Economic Plan – innovation, business support, skills and employability and inclusion – align neatly with European objectives in this first call to achieve sustainable and inclusive growth.

“After the Strategic Economic Plan secured one of the best funding deals in the country for the North East, our job now is to make sure this new round of European funding helps us continue to make the North East a place where more businesses invest, grow and prosper, delivering more and better jobs.”

Organisations and businesses seeking guidance on the latest round of European Structural Funds should visit the LEP’s European funding and strategy pages or follow us on Twitter @northeastlep

Calls will be published through the GOV.UK website