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Call for applications to £50m growth fund as Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Local Industrial Strategy launched

An appeal for applications to a £50million growth fund was made on Tuesday (July 23), following the launch of a local industrial strategy for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

Capital funding in the form of grants or loans are available to help the Combined Authority meet its aim of doubling the size of the area’s economy over 25 years.

Mayor James Palmer at home in Soham. Picture: Keith Heppell. (12523874)
Mayor James Palmer at home in Soham. Picture: Keith Heppell. (12523874)

The Business Board - the new Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) responsible to the authority - says it aims to create 10,000 jobs with the money.

It unveiled an investment prospectus yesterday offering guidance on the fund, which is available to both private and public sectors. Applicants will need to show they will deliver on one of the priorities identified in the local industrial strategy published last Friday by developing infrastructure, offering business support, harnessing innovation or improving education and training.

Austen Adams, interim chairman of the Business Board, said: “The publication last week of the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Local Industrial Strategy has provided exciting clear actions and interventions to help firms grow, become more productive and increase local and global reach, while fostering and generating growth across our area in the next few years.

“This investment prospectus invites those projects seeking to deliver on the LIS foundations in our economy - aiming to accelerate the creation of new jobs, skills provision and boosting productivity - to apply for the remaining local growth funding.”

The former Greater Cambridge Greater Peteborough LEP secured three tranches of funding, totalling £146.7million, to be spent between 2015 and March 31, 2021. Of this, about £98 million is already committed to projects, leaving just under £50million available.

Four other funds are also detailed in the investment prospectus - direct business growth grants scheme, business growth programme, Eastern agri-tech growth initiative and the skills capital fund.

The local industrial strategy, along with three others across the Oxford-Cambridge Arc, detailed a vision for growth.

Mayor James Palmer said: “It’s a bold strategy and it sets out clear actions to get things moving, help firms to grow, become more productive, and increase their reach.”

Based on last year’s CPIER, the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Independent Economic Review, chaired by a panel of experts, the strategy featured well-known plans for infrastructure improvements, such as the ambition for a Cambridge metro system, but also included some new commitments, including:

  • establishing a new Skills, Talent and Apprenticeship Hub to support the local community by connecting employers, providers, and learners;
  • creating at least four new ‘Innovation Launchpads’ as focal points for innovation cluster development, bringing together established firms with training, R&D, and incubation facilities, and focused on key sectors such as agri-tech, artificial intelligence and advanced manufacturing innovation;
  • setting up a new Global Growth Service by 2020 to working with 250 firms per year that can have the most impact. This will be delivered through a new Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Growth Company, an arms-length and commercially sustainable, not-for-profit business bringing together the Growth Hub, Signpost2Grow and the new Global Growth Service;
  • launching a new Trade & Investment Service to co-ordinate global growth grants and loans with government support and a Global Investor Service to bring new firms into Peterborough and Greater Cambridge.

John Hill, chief officer of the Business Board, said a Global Growth Champions Programme will spend £20m by 2024 assisting 1,000 business to grow - including 400 in Cambridge, 350 in Peterborough and 250 in the fens.

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