The University of Northampton has been successful in securing £2.6 million of European Regional Development Funding to help facilitate growth and innovation within small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) across Northamptonshire through the delivery of two projects.
Running until March 2019 ‘Ready2Grow’ and ‘Innovate Northamptonshire’ will be delivered through the Northamptonshire Growth Hub – a partnership led by The University of Northampton and supported by Northamptonshire County Council providing a range of business support services to businesses throughout the county.
The total value of both projects is £6.6 million.
The Ready2Grow project aims to improve the capacity and performance of SMEs and to encourage entrepreneurship across Northamptonshire. It supports enterprises from start up to growth and encourages the development of new skills.
Though the diagnostic process eligible businesses will be registered as either Enterprise Club members - for start-up and early stage businesses, or Growth Academy members - for those more advanced and looking to grow. Both member groups are offered 1-2-1 adviser support, workshops and the potential to apply for grant funding.
ReadyGrow is delivered by the Northamptonshire Growth Hub (NGH) in partnership with Northamptonshire County Council (NCC).
There are 3 funding strands:
Start-up Grants (SUG)
• Available to Enterprise Club members.
• Grants available from £1,000 to £3,000.
• Aim - to support early stage SMEs and pre-start entrepreneurs by supporting some of the upfront, prohibitive costs of starting-up and establishing in business.
Business Support Grants
• Available to Growth Academy members.
• Grants available up to £3,000 to a maximum of 50% towards total costs.
• Aim - to support the costs of procuring external consultancy services to enable the growth of the business.
Major Growth Investment Grants (MGIG)
• Growth Academy members.
• Grants are available from £10,000 to £25,000 to a maximum of 50% towards the total costs. Grants above this level may be considered but will need to demonstrate high impact.
• Aim - to support SMEs that are planning for high levels of growth, but require financial support in overcoming some of the upfront, prohibitive costs that rapid growth and expansion can entail; to stimulate economic activity by investing in business growth and promoting the creation of new jobs in the county.
Workshops available are:
• Self-Employment: Is it for me?
• Business Planning
• Introduction to Social Media for Business
• Introduction to Effective Websites for Business
• Developing a Sustainable Organisation
• Developing New Markets and New Customers
• Funding for Business Growth
• People, Policies and Planning
The Innovate Northamptonshire project aims to promote research and innovation within SMEs across Northamptonshire. The project offers a combination of workshops, advice, demonstrator visits and financial assistance depending upon the innovation need of each SME.
The project will support SMEs across the county with a particular focus on the four key sectors: High Performance Technologies, Agri-tech including Food and Drink, Creative and Cultural Industries and Logistics.
Innovate Northamptonshire is delivered by the Northamptonshire Growth Hub.
• Grants available up to £4,000 covering between 50% and 100% of the total costs depending on activity.
• Aim - to encourage SMEs to explore innovation as a way of developing and growing their business. The funding will support research and development activity leading to innovation and the development of new products, processes and services either to the firm or to the market.
• Vouchers available from £4,000 to £20,000 covering c50% of the total costs depending on the activity.
• Aim – similar to Grants but will support larger research and development activity mainly focused at collaboration with research organisations/specialists, leading to the development of new products, processes and services.
Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs)
• Grants available up to £10,000 matched by SME for 5 projects.
• Aim – to provide funding to support additional costs associated with the delivery of a KTP project that has been supported by Innovate Northamptonshire in the application stage and subsequently been approved by Innovate UK.
• Creating a Culture of Innovation
• Intellectual Property
• Innovation in Products, Processes and Supply Chain
• Investment in Innovation
For more details about grants available call Northamptonshire Growth Hub on 01604 212696 or go to: http://www.northamptonshiregrowthhub.co.uk/support/