The chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) has urged organisations to bid for a share of £118.7 million that has been allocated through the European Structural and Investment Fund (ESIF) to the Coventry and Warwickshire area.
The first calls for proposals for the Fund, which incorporates ERDF, ESF and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD), have recently been released. All have the objective of improving social and economic prosperity and creating a more competitive economy.
This money is available to support SMEs in enhancing research and innovation and improving competitiveness. In addition it will support ICT and broadband connectivity, finance the development of youth employment initiatives, encourage the use of low carbon technologies and develop rural micro and SME businesses.
Martin Yardley, chief executive of the CWLEP, worked closely with government departments to secure the financial allocation for Coventry and Warwickshire.
“The European funding will provide assistance to kick-start projects that are urgently needed in our area to boost the economy and create jobs,” he said.
“Particular focus among rural SMEs will be given to business sectors identified as growth opportunities for Coventry and Warwickshire’s economy which includes manufacturing and engineering, IT services, digital and creative industries and culture and tourism.
“We would encourage businesses and communities who are eligible for the funding to apply quickly before the funds are allocated elsewhere.”
Sean Farnell, board lead on the SME Business Group at the CWLEP, said that this was a fantastic opportunity for the area.
He said: “It is great news that the area has been allocated such a large amount of European funding and we need organisations to apply for a share of the money and ensure that the area’s businesses, economy and residents benefit from this investment as quickly as possible.”
The European Structural and Investment Funds are contracted nationally to successful bidders by the Department for Communities and Local Government for ERDF, the Department for Work and Pensions for ESF and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for EAFRD.
Commenting on the launch of the European Structural and Investment Fund programme, Local Growth Minister Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon said: “Local partners and organisations play a key role in determining the priorities for directing this money to where it will be best used for ensuring growth and innovation across our local communities. This new round of funding will help many new and growing businesses to create jobs that will benefit the wider local area and the economy in general.”
For more information or to apply for funding, visit www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding. Further calls for funding are expected to be launched in June.