The LEP Growth Service acts as a single point of contact for tailored SME business support in Leeds City Region.
The LEP is helping SMEs in the region to access the right support and funding to develop and realise their growth ambitions. Businesses initially find information online quickly so that they can easily learn about and access the support available. The programme has replaced separate disparate support schemes at a local level, to provide a model of consistent business support in a more efficient low-cost, high-impact manner.
The programme helps business find the funding and expertise they need to grow and expand from the LEP and a network of partners including local authorities, universities, colleges, international trade organisations and private businesses. It also supports inward investment and job creation by helping companies to take advantage of the investment opportunities in the region.
The programme encourages the following type of activity
-Investing in the skills of new and existing employees
-Finding external funding (grants and or loans)
-Assisting new products and services development and production process improvement with access to universities or an innovation partner
-Exploring new markets and openness to overseas trade
Each area has a specialist Growth Advisor working directly with enterprises across all eligible sectors (excluding retail) providing a free, impartial service including all the latest Government-backed products in the market.
The LEP offers grant funding, Inward Investment Service, workforce upskilling grants, export advice and more.
Universities - technical and R&D support
Chamber of Commerce - exporting and business development advice
National Funding Programmes
Local Enterprise Partnership - Regional delivery organisation
Private Enterprise - mentoring and support activity
DIT - international support
Evidence of success
First impact report on the LEP’s impact for 2011-2015 concludes:
• £491 million of private sector investment unlocked;
• 4300 businesses helped to grow
• 2300 work opportunities created for young people
• 2000 apprenticeships created
• 3200 (FTE) jobs created
The overall projected impact by 2031 is to secure investment delivering 20600 additional jobs and achievement of £2.1 billion in extra economic output per year.
Potential for learning or transfer
The Growth Programme highlights the following additional good practices:
•Innovate2Succeed, which assists ambitious companies unlock their innovation management potential with fully-funded support.
•Innovate UK, nationally delivered technology-focused problem solving funding competitions for SMES and larger businesses. Funds range from £5,000 to £10 million.
•R&D tax relief – provided by UK tax authorities. The HMRC-Research & development relief is a corporation tax relief on businesses’ tax bill against investment in R&D activities.
•Business and Intellectual Property (IP) Centre provides advice & resources to help business stay up-to-date and informed to protect their IP. Its’ website provides a wealth of information on protecting IP creations and inventions.
•Ad:Venture, a programme for start-ups & young businesses in the Leeds City Region offering a comprehensive and innovative mix of tailored support to boost growth in enterprises in their critical early years.