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SEMLEP board backs growth projects with new bidding round for funding

The board is now seeking project proposals that require major capital investment. The bidding round is open to businesses, public sector and third sector organisations based across the area and will be funded through the Local Growth Fund programme.
SEMLEP is looking for investment-ready capital projects that will contribute to economic success, deliver high-value employment opportunities and increase business strengths, creativity and skills. 
Projects will need to be investment-ready for spring next year and have to complete by the end of March 2021.
  • Pictured: SEMLEP chair Dr Ann Limb.
Chair Dr Ann Limb said: “Our role is to promote strong, sustainable and inclusive growth that creates jobs and supports businesses to innovate. Our Local Growth Fund helps us to achieve this by investing in major projects that grow business, people and places.”
The funding will go to projects that meet the aims of both SEMLEP’s Economic Growth Strategy and its governance standards.
The Local growth Fund has previously funded projects including Luton Culture’s Hat District, the Engineering and Construction Skills Centre, part of Central Bedfordshire College, in Leighton Buzzard and the Real Drive Emissions Centre being developed by automotive engineering company MAHLE Powertrain in Northampton.
SEMLEP chief executive Hilary Chipping said: “This shows what can be achieved with a public-private partnership, working together to meet shared economic objectives. There is strong growth potential in the South East Midlands, with ambitions to double the size of the local economy by 2050. Investments through Local Growth Fund contributes to this.”
The closing date for funding applications is October 1. SEMLEP will make initial approval decisions by end of December 2018 and aims to complete the second stage of project due diligence by the end of April next year.
Successful projects must be able to demonstrate how they meet the objectives set out in the Economic Growth Strategy for the area and must meet SEMLEP’s robust governance standards expected with investment of public money. 
SEMLEP’s director of programmes and governance Judith Barker has begun a series of telephone advice sessions that continue this month. The programme team will also host a bidding round roadshow in September to provide detailed guidance for projects wishing to proceed with their application.
Dr Limb said: “This new opportunity will channel investment to strengthen our area’s position as the premier location for growth, innovation, creativity and world-leading technologies.”

For more information about the bidding round and to download the application proforma, visit the Local Growth Fund section on the SEMLEP website. 

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