The Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and Sefton Council-administered Business Growth Grant programme has generated and secured 350 jobs across the borough.
The programme, for which the LEP in partnership with Sefton Council secured support from the Regional Growth Fund (RGF), was open to bids from local and inward investing businesses to fund a range of capital investment projects.
In Sefton, grants totalling over £1.7 million and ranging in size from £10,000 to £320,000, have leveraged a further £8.4 million in private sector investment, funding projects as diverse as expanded production facilities, software upgrades and the purchase of new machinery.
The 28 companies benefitting from the grants include those operating in engineering, glass work and sanitation sectors drawn from across the council area. The programme was managed locally by InvestSefton, the council’s business support and investment service.
Cllr Ian Maher, Leader of Sefton Council, said: ““The Business Growth Grant supports our pledge to help create the right conditions in which business can thrive.
“It has had a significant and positive impact on Sefton’s economy, helping our businesses to improve and expand and help create more much needed jobs and wealth in the borough. As a result, 346 more jobs have been created or safeguarded which would either not exist or be under threat if not for this funding.”
Chair of the Liverpool City Region LEP, Robert Hough said: “The essential element of Growth Grant bids was that they should either secure or generate new jobs in Sefton. Supplementary to that objective is to support real businesses to make significant investment decisions which will sustain their growth for the coming months and years.
“With the completion of the programme, we can see the evidence from the effort which has been put in and the effect the programme has had on the operations of the businesses in question.
“The LEP exists to support business and to champion their needs. It is therefore very pleasing to report such strong direct evidence the programme has had for Sefton businesses.”
Business Growth Grants were available to fund between 10 and 20 per cent of a project and could include capital expenditure such as new plant, equipment, buildings, or adaptations; investment in new technologies; systems; software and training aid.
InvestSefton is the council’s business support and investment service. For further information visit www.investsefton.com
Case study: The Christmas Decorators
Established in 2004, The Christmas Decorators – as the name suggests – manufactures, supplies and installs commercial and domestic festive decorations across the UK and, increasingly, internationally.
With a franchise model, the North West patch is operated by husband and wife team Paul and Victoria Lally from their base in Formby.
A £16,000 Business Growth Grant has helped the company tweak its business model taking it into new markets and, while Christmas will always be its focus, it now provides a year-round service.
Paul explains how the business has developed. He said: “2011 was something of a watershed for the company. We were asked to demonstrate our proposals one evening at Cheshire Oaks in Ellesmere Port. The key decision maker had flown in especially to run the rule over what we could do. That’s how we found ourselves in an empty shopping centre in the early hours of a spring morning getting a commission to decorate a dozen shopping centres across Europe.
“Our domestic customer list now includes footballing royalty, Hollywood royalty and actual royalty while commercial customers take us around the world with a key focus on Dubai and a series of festivals throughout the year.
“The grant has allowed us to take on two full time staff. As a seasonal business, payroll outgoings between February and October are stresses the business cannot tolerate. But the grant has allowed us the breathing room to establish a new part of the company delivering events management services for weddings and other non-seasonal events.
“The focus will always be on the festive period but having the expertise in-house all year round means the stress of having to find key staff on temporary contracts is somewhat reduced.”
The company has scored some notable successes in recent years – including providing the decorations for the town of Bethlehem – but it remains a fixture in the local community providing services to Southport town centre and other retail centres around Sefton.
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