The LEP is addressing barriers to growth by supporting business, enhancing skills and making the Thames Valley Berkshire area a business destination of choice.
A Growing Places Fund of just over £15m was awarded to the LEP by government in 2012 to promote jobs and economic growth in the area. It is structured as a revolving loan fund. We have invested £11.3m of Growing Places Fund capital into a bespoke ‘Funding Escalator’ offering loan and equity investments of £25,000 to £300,000 to a diverse range of growth-potential SMEs support, from music composition to medical diagnostics, and more recently security software and temperature-controlled containers; UK government and European funds for the Berkshire Business Growth Hub, the first stop shop for all business support in the sub-region; and invested European Structural & Investment funds to accelerate the creation of the first-ever Science Park in Berkshire, which provides specialist space for start-up and growing innovative and technology-based companies.
The LEP commissioned report on Innovation Spaces was published in June 2019. The research has been used to inform the LEP’s investment in Research & Innovation through an ERDF Call aimed at supporting the appropriate development of innovation spaces particularly in our town centres and/or close to railway stations. It is also being used to inform the emerging BLIS as a means of further developing the business and innovation ecosystem across the sub-region.
In addition to its own investments, the LEP works with a range of business support partners through its Business Environment Programme Group to support Berkshire based businesses.
More detail on support for SMEs is here: Business Support & Funding