Miranda Dobson

Member Article

Thames Valley Berkshire LEP offers £7.25m loan funding

The Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (TVB LEP) has pumped £7.25m of capital into a new Escalator Fund.

SMEs in the region will be awarded finance to grow their businesses as a part of the Government strategy to empower the LEPs after Lord Heseltine published his penetrating review into the UK’s economy.

The investment will focus on infrastructure, employment and skills, with the aim of creating a strong foundation for the next generation of businesses.

TVB LEP set up the Escalator Fund to award loans to funds run by the LEP in commercialisation, expansion and equity.

£1.75m will be allocated to the TVB Commercialisation Fund to offer support to fledgling companies that want to create a strong market foothold.

The TVB Expansion Fund will receive £4m to stimulate growth, while the Equity Fund has been allocated £1.5m to help growing businesses with cash injections which the LEP hopes will be matched by private investors.

TVB LEP has already used £10.28m of its £15m allocation from the Growing Places Fund in a range of different projects across the region, including the “Superfast Berkshire” broadband scheme, the regeneration of Bracknell town centre and revenue support for the Western Rail Access to Heathrow scheme.

Steve Lamb, Chairman of the TVB LEP said: “The Escalator Fund is our response to the feedback from business across Thames Valley Berkshire during many months of consultation across the sub region.

“It is designed to provide finance to a range of businesses from start-ups to the more established, looking for funding which is difficult to obtain from more traditional sources.

“Only businesses that are viewed to have the potential to deliver significant growth and employment opportunities for Thames Valley Berkshire will be considered, as this scheme is all about growing and empowering the local economy.”

Growth funding will be offered through the FSE Group, which is an not-for-profit Community Interest Company that will work with TVB LEP to manage the £7.25m fund.

Kevan Jones, chief executive of The FSE Group, said: “We’re delighted to be working on this initiative as we understand the risks involved in lending, and have over 10 years of experience in assessing businesses and the value that they will bring to a local economy.

“Many potential applicants are already in the pipeline and I urge companies to include apprentices in their business growth plans and to look at the criteria from every possible angle.

“Although we’re the Fund Managers, our company is also regulated by the FSA, to ensure that the decisions we make will be the best for individual businesses and the overall health and prosperity of Thames Valley Berkshire.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Miranda Dobson .

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