The LEP Growth Service acts as a single point of contact for tailored SME business support in Leeds City Region, strengthening the support available to business
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.
SME Growth Managers provide an Information, Diagnostic and Brokerage service, helping growing SMEs identify their barriers and solutions to growth, funding and expertise in order to create jobs, increase sales and begin export and internationalisation.
The LEP offers grant funding, inward investment service, workforce upskilling grants, export advice and encourages:
- Finding external funding (grants and or loans). Here businesses will be signposted to national and local funding for projects and equipment.
- Exploring oversee markets, new markets and openness to overseas trade. Here businesses are signposted to the DIT export programme where businesses receive market research support, funding to attend trade shows and advice on communicating globally etc
- Investing in the skills of new and existing employees to increase resource through signposting to a skills fund. Here businesses will receive support to help them apply for funding and explore their skills needs
- Assisting new products and services development and production process improvement with access to universities or an innovation partner
Partners include local authorities, universities, colleges, international trade organisations and private businesses.
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.