News - 12 December 2014

Grant Fund Success

Nearly 2,000 jobs have been created and secured at 85 firms across Nottingham and Nottinghamshire thanks to the Nottingham Technology Grant Fund (N’Tech) which has now closed to applications.

Launched in April 2013, the N’Tech Fund forms part of the Nottingham Growth Plan – a blueprint for the city’s future business growth. A total of 85 businesses have benefitted from £9.7 million of grant funding which has, in turn, leveraged £44 million of private sector investment.

N’Tech is funded solely through the Government’s Regional Growth Fund (RGF). Nottingham City Council secured RGF from the Government for grants to help fast track development of local businesses. 

The funding provided grants of £20,000 to £1 million per successful company to support growth and expansion geared towards the life sciences, digital content and clean technology sectors. The Fund is delivered by Nottingham City Council and N’Tech grants were designed to enable businesses to invest in cutting-edge technologies, recruit more staff and develop new products and services.

Figures for N’Tech were announced shortly after the launch of the Nottingham Growth Plan Annual Review. 

N’Tech is part of Nottingham Growth Plan’s package of more than £50 million of business finance made available for both start-up and growth companies through a range of equity grant and loan finance.

The most dynamic sector for N’Tech applications is digital content, where 39 awards were made, totalling £4.9 million, businesses such as Creative Quarter based AppInstitute who received £150,000. AppInstitute was founded by Ian Naylor who returned home to Nottingham to launch the business after 10 years working abroad. Ian left school at 16 and as an YTS trainee got his first opportunity to work in IT at Welcome Finance in West Bridgford.

AppInstitute is now a leading developer of mobile app solutions for the SME market across the UK and beyond. Based on Kayes Walk in Nottingham’s Creative Quarter, AppInstitute set-up in 2011 to provide a self-service platform that allows small businesses to create their own iOS and Android apps, without any tech-skills or coding. Following receipt of the N’Tech grant, the company has grown from three to 16 staff with plans to hire a further 15 people over the next few years, its customers now include US based central reservation service through to landscape gardeners, retailers and take-away restaurants.

Ian Naylor from AppInstitute commented “Both the N’Tech grant, and the process we had to go through to apply has been a real enabler for the business. The cash was invaluable but the grant also helped us attract other investment funding which has really accelerated the growth of the business.  Not only have we used the finance to recruit new staff but we have invested in attending a specialist trade show for the first time to help promote the business to our target customers, which, in turn, has attracted new business.”   m/f

The life sciences sector benefited from 21 awards totalling £2.7 million including Aurelia Bioscience, a niche contract research organisation based at Biocity, Nottingham. This pioneering bioscience firm conducts lifesaving research aimed at identifying new medicines received a £59,200 grant. The company provides specialist R&D services in the early stages of the hunt for new medicines to pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, research institutes and universities.

Dr Kevin Hart, Co-Founder and managing director commented: “The N’Tech grant has given Aurelia Bioscience a huge boost. Not only has it allowed us to attract more investment to speed up our growth plan, it has also helped us to employ two new PhD biologists. These are critical elements of Aurelia’s aim to increase our scientific capabilities and enhance the skill set and scope the business can offer.”

The clean tech sector has benefited from 25 awards totalling £2.1 million including Technical Simulation Consultants Limited (TSC) based on Private Road in Colwick, one of the world’s leading independent suppliers of dynamic process simulation models for use in training and engineering performance studies.  TSC were awarded a £111,950 grant to enable the company to become even stronger in the global market.  In much the same way as a flight simulator is used to train and assess airline pilots, a TSC simulator is used to train and assess the people who run gas rigs and oil platforms.

TSC works with customers across 32 countries, providing simulations of the plant and processes used in the oil and gas sectors, food and pharmaceuticals industries.  It also has a growing customer base in renewable energy. Its customers include BP, Shell, British Gas, GlaxoSmithKline and Sellafield.   

Michael Bolton, Managing Director at TSC commented “Following the N’Tech grant we have taken the biggest single order in the company’s 35 year history, a large BP contract from Azerbaijan which is a massive boost to our turnover.  Thankfully the N’Tech grant had enabled us to recruit four new members of staff in preparation but we still need further software engineers to help us manage this growth.” 

Councillor Nick McDonald, Portfolio Holder for Jobs and Growth at the City Council, said: “We designed the N’Tech Fund in order to give a boost to local, small employers in Nottingham in our key growth sectors, and it has been a great success. It is encouraging to see there are so many promising Nottingham companies creating jobs in the city, which of course is hugely beneficial to our local economy.  The delivery of schemes like this has enabled the success of the city’s Growth Plan, which aimed to boost business in key sectors, and help revitalise Nottingham’s economy.”

N’Tech is a core element the “Growing Nottingham” campaign a blueprint for the city’s future business growth and one of the most ambitious strategies of the UK’s Core Cities. Measures introduced as part of the plan have played a key role in encouraging new business formation through various finance and support packages.

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