Funding worth £214million will be made available to support innovation and business growth, entrepreneurs, low carbon businesses, digital connectivity, skills, employment and tackle social exclusion in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire – through the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership.
D2N2 is a partnership of businesses, local authorities, universities, further education providers and voluntary organisations across Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, which drives forward economic growth and prosperity.
It is being allocated £214m of European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) – one of the largest ESIF funds allocated to any of the UK’s 39 Local Enterprise Partnerships – for its long-term strategy (running to 2020) to tackle priorities in its area, including:
- 5,000 businesses supported, particularly in sectors such as information communication technology (ICT), and low carbon and ‘green’ energy;
- 400 start-up businesses aided;
- 15,000 people helped to find employment;
- 8,000 people helped in overcoming social exclusion;
- 2,500 business assisted in improving their employee’s skills levels.
The funding has been in the planning stage for some time but is now beginning to be delivered.
Over the next few months D2N2 will work with Government departments to make a series of ESIF funding opportunities available, which businesses and others can apply to if their project addresses the priorities identified in D2N2’s Strategic Economic Plan.
Funding for D2N2’s ESIF Strategy will include £104m from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), £104m from the European Social Fund (ESF) and £5.5m from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD).
The first ‘calls’ for bids – to be made this month (March) – will address the D2N2 priority areas of:
- Innovation – Funding to increase the amount of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) creating innovative products or processes, to improve economic performance.
This will deliver the ambitions set out in D2N2’s innovation strategy – Time to Innovate (available online at www.d2n2lep.org/Innovation ) – which focuses on creating an encouraging environment for innovators, supporting businesses who innovate and helping them exploit their ideas.
Innovation through 3D Printing
- SME Competitiveness – Improving small and medium-sized enterprises’ competitive edge by helping grow their ability to compete and opportunities to demonstrate entrepreneurship. D2N2 wants to see a competitive culture develop among established and start-up companies, and will aid this by promoting entrepreneurship activities.
D2N2 has identified eight sectors – food and drink, construction, transport and logistics, low carbon, life sciences, the visitor economy, creative industries and transport equipment manufacture – as priorities for business support in its area. More information on D2N2’s priority sectors and related action plans can be found at www.d2n2lep.org/EUFunding/Key-Documents
- Low Carbon – Supporting the national drive moving the UK economy towards a ‘low carbon’ model and to build our competitive advantage in such an economy. This involves reducing levels of ‘greenhouse gas’ emissions, making the most of low carbon technology, developing low carbon goods and services, enhancing energy efficiency and making transport more sustainable. This will deliver the aims of D2N2’s own Low Carbon plan, available at web link d2n2lep.org/lowcarbon
If successful up to half a project’s funding could be provided, with the other half coming from the bidders themselves. All ‘calls’ for funding bids will be published by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) at website www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding
Information about the ‘calls’ for project bids, D2N2’s ESIF Strategy, and details of events giving advice and guidance on accessing funding for different priority areas, can be found at www.d2n2lep.org/EUFunding
Bids will be made in a two-stage application process, with bidders initially required to submit an ‘expression of interest’. Government will assess the bids and the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership will consider the strategic fit.
Further early opportunities to bid will include delivery of the Youth Employment Initiative in Nottingham and, later in the summer (2015), the delivery of the EMPLOY Local and SKILLS Local schemes in the D2N2 area, aimed at reducing unemployment and developing higher work skills.
David Ralph, Chief Executive of D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Around £214million through the European Structural and Investment Fund between now and 2020 gives D2N2 a terrific resource to help boost employment and skills, develop businesses, promote social inclusion and support communities in Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire.
“I’d urge businesses, training and education providers, community groups and others to take advantage of this major opportunity, to promote economic growth in the D2N2 area. We aim to create 55,000 jobs in the area in ten years (by 2023). This funding is an important help in achieving that goal.”
More information on the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership and its activities can be found at its website at www.d2n2lep.org