Hundreds of jobs to be created as Hull and East Yorkshire firms bid for share of £7m cash fund
HUNDREDS of jobs are set to be created across Hull and the Humber region in 2013, thanks to the success of a £7m-plus loan scheme.
Launched in October, the Humber LEP Business Loan Fund was designed to provide much-needed cash injections for projects that have stalled due to lack of investment.
The fund aimed to achieve economic growth and create jobs by helping development projects get off the drawing board.
Despite 2013 seeing banks becoming increasingly risk-averse, there were fears the challenging economic climate would prevent local firms from applying, meaning the fund was not fully utilised.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
However, the Humber LEP says the number of quality applications to the fund shows there is a real appetite among firms to get the Humber region's economy growing – and quickly.
Richard Kendall, manager of the Humber LEP, confirmed the investment board, chaired by David Kilburn of MKM Building Supplies, had received 41 applications in total for almost £30m of funding.
The total pot available amounts to just over £7m and interviews are now under way to establish a shortlist of successful applicants.
Mr Kendall said: "We were always hoping it would be successful, as we wanted to direct investment into the local economy. After all, it is no good in our bank account.
"But when you launch any scheme, you never know how successful it is going to be.
"However, the Humber LEP investment board was very encouraged by the quality of the applications.
"We have done something similar before and received about 30 applications, but this time the quality of applications this time was much, much better.
"The board was actually quite stunned some of the projects had not been able to secure funding from the banks."
Mr Kendall said the latest round of funding had seen a real mix of companies bidding for cash in order to create jobs locally – one of the key aims of the fund itself.
"The fund is crucially about job creation, and job creation quickly, so we were looking for projects ready to go now," he said.
"Some of the projects have been stuck on the drawing board for a number of years, whereas others that have come forward relate to schemes that have only been around for a year or so.
"But these are all successful local firms that are looking to grow.
"The applications we have had came from a range of sectors, including manufacturing, energy, food and leisure. There is a real mix and this is also reflected in the size of companies applying.
"We have received applications from locally owned family businesses that have successfully gone through several generations and are still looking to grow, as well as companies formed in the past few years."
Over the next few weeks, the applicants will be interviewed and each shortlisted project will then proceed to a process of due diligence.
The funding should then be unlocked by the end of February or beginning of March.
The latest success again seeks to refute the claim that LEPs have less clout than regional development agencies – a claim first bandied around by national think-tank IPPR in 2010, which said they were at risk of becoming "toothless tigers" and subsequently repeated by LEP critics ever since.
Two years ago, the Humber region did not have an LEP, at least not one both banks of the estuary could agree on.
But over the past 12 months, the Humber LEP has secured the biggest enterprise zone in the country and secured £30m of regional growth funding. Mr Kendall said: "Things have moved on a long way since LEPs were first formed.
"We have gone from having nothing, to having the largest enterprise zone in the country, which will give us a 25-year funding stream.
"We have also had a lot of success with regional growth funding and the business loans, and judging by what came out of the Autumn Statement, I think the next few years will see a lot more funding and cash coming through the LEP."