Jobs on horizon as firms bid for loans
A FUND aimed at creating jobs by getting stalled developments off the drawing board has so far received more than 30 applications.
The Humber Local Enterprise Partnership's (LEP) £7m-plus business loan fund was launched just over two weeks ago at an event attended by hundreds of businesspeople.
Since then, it has sparked interest from numerous Humber firms.
The majority of enquiries, which have ranged from businesses operating in the renewable energy, logistics and land infrastructure sectors on both banks of the Humber, have come from SMEs.
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Last week, the leader of Leeds City Council warned some LEPs in Yorkshire were struggling to hand their pot of cash out, due to either a lack of interest or would-be applicants feeling they didn't fit the criteria.
However, David Kilburn, chairman of the Humber LEP Investment Board and executive chairman of MKM Building Supplies, said the response to the Humber allocation had been "encouraging".
He said: "It is too early to say whether the entire Humber loan fund will be allocated as that will depend on final assessments and then the due diligence process, although the initial response is certainly encouraging.
"It seems businesspeople here have gained a greater understanding of what the fund can do for them and are increasingly confident about coming forward, especially with the economy at last showing some encouraging upward signs.
"The impact of a growing economy could be magnified on the Humber with all the opportunities the next few years could bring, in line with our key objectives of a renewable super-cluster on the Humber, boosting the Humber brand and increasing international trade."
Mr Kilburn said applications so far had been predominantly from businesses seeking loans in the range of £250,000 to £500,00, although one organisation has bid for about £1m.
He said: "They are established businesses that wish to expand but need more cash to be able to fulfil their plans at a time when banks are reticent about supporting them.
"Typically, each project that is successful in gaining loan funding would generate about 50 new jobs."
The fund, which comes from the Department for Communities and Local Government's Growing Places Fund, has an ultimate goal of boosting employment and accelerating economic growth through supporting stalled capital development projects.
The Humber LEP is now urging more businesses with proposals that will create sustainable employment to apply for funding. The deadline for registering interest is November 23. For more details, visit www.humber lep.org or call 01482 485260.