Sheffield bid for cash to help firms

Sheffield City Region's Ben Still.
Sheffield City Region's Ben Still.
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A bid is being made for a further £25 million of Government funding to provide grants and loans to businesses – which could help create at least 1,800 jobs.

Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, which involves business and political leaders, received the same amount last year to offer funding for business development projects through the organisation’s Unlocking Business Investment initiative.

Ben Still, chief executive of the partnership, said: “The money, from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund, has been allocated and is set to unlock three times more private sector funding, equating to a total of £100 million.

“Around 65 firms are benefiting from the first wave of our programme, creating 2,000 jobs.

“We are now bidding for a top-up of the same amount to the next round of grants from the Regional Growth Fund, which are set to be announced this summer.

“In exchange for the further £25 million of funding, it will unlock £105 million of business investment and create at least 1,800 private sector jobs by March 2016.”

Among companies receiving funding through the Unlocking Business Investment programme are mouldings company Loadhog, healthcare data firm Avoca Systems, based in Chesterfield, and Sheffield University-owned high-tech company Magnomatics.

Also benefiting is Cathelco, based in Chesterfield, to help it manufacture a ballast water treatment system for shipping.

Sheffield City Region LEP runs one of the ‘best performing’ Enterprise Zones, Mr Still said.

Businesses are being encouraged to locate in the zones through favourable business rates and relaxed planning rules.

Since April 2012, Sheffield City Region Enterprise Zone has attracted 15 occupiers and created 228 jobs.

Last year, it was ranked as the UK’s number one zone, ahead of Birmingham, in a Financial Times report.

Recent arrivals to the zone include modern manufacturing and technology companies X-Cel Superturn, Sarclad, Xeros and Elbee.