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£3m Growth Fund boost creates 300 jobs across region

The money has come from the latest round of the government’s Regional Growth Fund, which supports projects using private sector investment to generate employment and economic growth.

A total seven businesses received grants towards the development of new products and services.

They include Bedford-based marine technology specialist Ecospeed Marine, which has developed a new energy efficient propulsion system which enables boats to adapt to sea conditions, as well as reducing emossions by at least 50 per cent. The system will be demonstrated at the International Boat Show in Southampton in September.

Chief executive Anne Duncan said: “We had been working on ideas for some time but were not able to progress any of them due to lack of funding. The grant has made a massive difference by allowing us to move the project forward and we have already had interest from several potential customers.”

Vayon Vehicle Technologies, based in Woodford Halse near Towcester, works with vehicle manufacturers to develop hybrid and electric vehicle electrical
 systems. It received a grant towards the development of a high energy, high power dense battery and cloud based management system. 

Shane Hussain, chairman and chief executive of parent company Vayon Group, said: “The funding and support provided by the High Performance Technologies programme has had a direct effect on our capability to expand in this area of technology. Without the grant, the project would not have been realised for some time, if at all.”

The funding has been delivered by the Northamptonshire and South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnerships.

NEP senior programme manager Cathy Martin said: “I have been really impressed by the level of determination shown by these companies to remain innovative and on top of their game in very competitive markets. There are no certainties when it comes to R&D but this funding has given them the confidence to move to the next level of project development and subsequent business growth.”

SEMLEP deputy chief executive Hilary Chipping added; “The High Performance Technologies sector continues to grow and being innovative is a major part of that growth. It is evident that without the funding from programmes such as this the growth of many cutting edge companies will be stunted. It should be recognised that the benefits are far reaching with significant positive impact on the wider supply chain.” 

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