Key word is ‘growth’ as confidence returns to UK

Lisa Leighton
Lisa Leighton
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The key word in this year’s Top 100 SMEs survey is ‘growth’, evidenced by increases in turnover, profitability and a growth in employment.

The last six months have been significantly more positive, with ‘confidence’ ‘innovation’ and ‘investment’ featuring heavily in headlines and conversations.

All of these points indicate an economy moving forward and growth being achieved.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) in September upgraded the forecast for UK growth this year significantly to 1.4 per cent (up from its previous estimate of 0.9 per cent published in July) – a further signal that things are finally improving.

So is there the availability of funds locally to support the investment required to move up the growth curve?

Sheffield City Region LEP (SCR LEP) ‘Unlocking Business Investment’ Programme is one such initiative which is assisting with accelerating a number of projects in businesses within the area.

The SCR LEP was successful in securing £25 million of investment from the Regional Growth Fund Round 3 in Autumn 2012. As of September 2013, £21.3 million of these funds have been allocated to 52 projects which will create 1,567 private sector jobs by 2016.

A further £7 million was allocated to SCR LEP from the Regional Growth Fund Round 4 in July 2013.

These funds will be allocated to projects by March 2014 giving a further boost to fuel growth. £2.5 million of this funding is to be used to target smaller businesses with smaller projects.

Using initiatives such as these to obtain a proportion of grant, together with tax incentives, such as research and development tax credits and enhanced capital allowance reliefs, is a great way to kick-start a project, with the objective being to achieve growth earlier than a business could have achieved without accessing the support available.

Other initiatives to aid growth include Finance Yorkshire loan and equity funds, Donbac funding, Sheffield SME Loan Fund and the Transformation Team Threshold Company Programme.

Support is available and BHP is experienced in working with our clients to maximise this and help them grow and flourish.