Four firms secure grants after first round of St Helens Jobs and Growth fund bids

St Helens Star: St Helens Chamber awarded the first grants under St Helens Jobs and Growth fund St Helens Chamber awarded the first grants under St Helens Jobs and Growth fund

THE first four applications for grants from the £2million St Helens Jobs and Growth fund have been successfully approved - and are set to create 19 new jobs.

The new grant programme back by the Government’s Regional Growth Fund aims to unlock investment among local businesses.

The fund, managed by St Helens Chamber, launched in November 2013 to support businesses to access finance they need to grow and create new jobs within the private sector.

The first round of applications was assessed by the fund’s investment panel in December and all four applications received were approved.

St Helens businesses NW Metal Sections, Safeshred, Neticonic and Qualplas will either expand to new premises, invest in new plant equipment or acquire larger office space to enable their growth plans in 2014.

Geoff Bates, Regional Growth Fund programme manager at the Chamber said: “The panel was very impressed by the applications received and approved the applications without hesitation.

“All four companies had solid business plans in place for their expansion and showed evidence that the funding provided will create jobs and leverage significant private sector investment.

“We have a lot more applications in the pipeline which will be put forward to the panel when it meets again later this month.

“The St Helens Jobs and Growth Fund provides a fantastic opportunity for businesses to leverage private sector investment in order to achieve their expansion plans and create much needed jobs for local people.”

Grants of up to £70,000 are available to provide investment for growth, funding projects that will create new employment opportunities, such as purchasing new premises, expanding current premises or capital expenditure on plant and machinery.

Businesses can apply for grants of up to 20per cent of their total project value. Eligible projects should have a minimum total value of £20,000.

The maximum grant available is £70,000. Applications for funding will be assessed on a competitive basis by an investment panel.

All funding must be awarded by March 2015 so the emphasis is on businesses to get their expressions of interest in as soon as possible.

The next investment panel will meet on January 23 to review the next raft of applications.

For further information and to download an expression of interest form visit http://www.sthelenschamber.com/rgf or call Geoff Bates on 01744 742087.

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