Over 4,200 businesses across the region have received a boost from the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership’s (LEP) Growth Service since it launched in 2015 providing a single point of contact for businesses in the region that want to grow.
This includes investment totalling £20.8 million in grant funding for new premises, machinery and equipment to create jobs and apprenticeships.
The LEP Growth Service, working in partnership with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority has received funding through Leeds City Region Growth Deal – a £1 billion package of Government investment to accelerate growth and create jobs across Leeds City Region.
Businesses contacting the Growth Service can get access to a wide range of support available from the LEP and its wider network of partners – from funding for start-ups and early stage companies through AD:VENTURE, to support for developing innovative new products and processes.
Support is also available for companies who want to improve their digital capabilities, explore opportunities to trade overseas, develop the skills of their staff, take on apprentices, enable their employees to travel cheaply and sustainably, and save money on their energy bills. Over 150 businesses have already accessed support from the LEP’s Resource Efficiency Fund – launched a year ago – with 72 grants awarded totalling £530,000.
Roger Marsh, OBE, chair of Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership said: “A strong, successful City Region economy is underpinned by the thousands of businesses that start up, grow and thrive here.
“We have some fantastic businesses in our region, but it can be hard sometimes for them to find the right support to take that next step on their business journey. Our Growth Service makes finding the right support much easier, and I’m delighted that we’ve supported well over 4,000 businesses in the past two and half years.
“Creating an environment that supports and encourages business growth is key to achieving the region’s Strategic Economic Plan and our Growth Service is doing just that. I encourage all businesses to pick up the phone and find out about the support available for growing businesses at every stage of their development.”
In addition to the support available through the LEP Growth Service helpline and website, a 13-strong team of locally based Growth Mangers also provide one-to- one, tailored support to help firms achieve their growth ambitions.
David Masters, group managing director of Wakefield-based OE Electrics – a manufacturer and distributor of electrical equipment – was put in touch with their local Growth Manager and said: “We have benefited hugely from the one-to-one support from the LEP Growth Manager, who we have been working with for over a year now.
“They really listened to our business needs and helped us to understand and access the finance and support available to us.”
In addition, the Growth Service team are also out and about, taking the popular Business Advice Pop Up Cafes to 12 locations across the region so far. From Harehills to Hebden Bridge, Batley to Pontefract, over 200 have benefited from over 670 free advice sessions.
Growth Service enquiries also act a barometer of the current issues affecting businesses in the region. Businesses can contact the Growth Service for advice and support on a range of business issues, although access to finance, skills and digital connectivity generate the most enquiries. And in terms of future priorities, the number of businesses who want to explore new markets and opportunities to trade overseas continues to increase.
Leeds City Region boasts strong and thriving Manufacturing and Digital sectors and this is reflected by businesses in these sectors accessing the most support. Supporting growing businesses in these sectors boosts both the City Region and national economy, with recent research highlighting that the Leeds City Region digital sector contributes 6.5bn to the UK economy.
Coun Tim Swift, West Yorkshire Combined Authority lead for Business, Innovation and Growth, said: “I am delighted that businesses across Leeds City Region are benefiting from the wide range of support available through the Growth Service.
“Capital grant investment has led to the creation of over 1700 local jobs so far, which is very welcome news for the local economy and most importantly for the people who live, work and run businesses here.”