These are government funded schemes to help ambitious businesses to grow. The underlying aim of Regional Growth Funds are to increase employment. For this reason the schemes are run geographically with slightly different criteria in each region.
Regional Growth Funds are available across England. The official summary of the scheme is;
The £3.2 billion Regional Growth Fund (RGF) supports eligible projects and programmes that are also raising private sector investment to create economic growth and sustainable employment
How Regional Growth Funds Work
The funds do not provide cash in isolation. The schemes operate on a match funding basis, meaning that you can apply for a Regional Growth Fund loan for a maximum amount equal to whatever new cash you are putting in, or are borrowing elsewhere.
Most of the loans under the scheme are interest free and therefore provide the best cost solution for your business.
Applying for a Regional Growth Fund Loan
The scheme is operated by different providers across England. The criteria in your region will be different from elsewhere. You can reasonably expect the volume of loans in deprived areas of enterprise zones to be higher then affluent areas. That said, the scheme is running nationwide and there are funds available.
The basic qualifying criteria is simple, you have to be;
- Based in England
- Want to strengthen or grow their business
- Create or protect jobs
- Be investing private capital
- Be unable to find funding elsewhere for the application
- Be state aid compliant
Don’t get put off by some of the above. It is match funding so some external cash will need to be going into the business. Being unable to find funding elsewhere is a vague criteria, most lenders will have a limit and would welcome match funding under the Regional Growth Fund.
The reason the ‘unable to find funding elsewhere’ clause exists is to prevent the scheme being used by businesses who have access to funding but simply want a cheaper option. It is not a scheme to offer preferential loans to companies, it really is about growth.
What Regional Growth Funds Are In My Area?
There is a guide available, it is not attached as the list will always be out of date. Follow this link to the government site and check out your area.
You may also find that links to the schemes in your area are available via your local authority website. For businesses based in Sussex, Surrey or Kent, then contact us direct as we have access to some fantastic regional growth funds.
How Easy Is It To Get Funding?
The answer is that it is not as difficult as you think, but you will need to put some work in to show how the scheme will benefit your business. This is a good thing as putting work in at this stage will get you better business results in the long term.
If you want to know more then give Lime Consultancy a call on 01293 541333 or contact us via the website. Please leave your comments in the ‘reply’ option above.
By Dave Farmer