Thinking small to achieve big things
THE Business Minister has hailed the Humber LEP for making "real strides in unlocking the potential of the UK's energy estuary".
MP Michael Fallon said the region had a "once-in-a- generation opportunity" to deliver a new offshore renewables industry which would bring benefits right across the Humber, as well as the UK.
However, he said businesses must take advantage of the funding available to grow their businesses and create new jobs while preserving existing ones.
Mr Fallon's comments came as he launched the £30m Regional Growth Fund (RGF) – a pot of cash to help the region's businesses press ahead with their plans for growth and build on the Humber's position as the UK's energy estuary.
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He said: "We want to support the Humber to deliver on our ambition.
"We have already allocated two enterprise zones to support the creation of a renewable energy cluster.
"Over £260m has so far been offered to RGF projects in Yorkshire and the Humber, which will leverage in more than £1bn of private investment.
"Now we have a further £30m for the Humber which we know will generate more investment and growth."
Mr Fallon launched the £30m fund at The Baths Hall in Scunthorpe on Friday.
There, he urged small to medium sized companies to apply to the fund, rather than think it was out of their reach.
He said: "Getting RGF money out through the door to smaller businesses is really important.
"There are 39 LEPs I deal with and the Humber LEP is well up there in the league table in terms of preparedness and readiness to take responsibility and help shape its future.
"I have no doubt that the £30m fund from Humber LEP will select the firms and industries of the future so that the Humber can continue to build its economic presence within the renewable energy industry."
The cash is expected to create up to 3,000 jobs and attract at least £125m of investment from the private sector.
A pot of £10m has been earmarked to support the offshore wind and renewable energy supply chain on the South Bank, with the remaining £20m available for businesses across both banks of the river to exploit expansion opportunities.
The Minister, who said the Humber "was dear to his heart" as a result of meeting his wife, of Market Weighton, here and then marrying in the region, said one of the most crucial things the fund would bring was confidence.
He said: "This is the time to invest and grow your business. Confidence is critical at the moment and this funding will give firms the confidence to invest and create jobs.
"The RGF is more than just big industry and household names.
"It is also building the necessary relationships to support SMEs through difficult times so they are able to grow."