Deadline approaching for £2m Worcestershire Growth Fund for business expansion

A new £2million Worcestershire Growth Fund is available to help local expanding businesses to create more jobs and boost productivity.

The new fund, which was announced at the #WLEP15 Annual Conference in November 2015, is a capital grant scheme financed by the Worcestershire Growth Deal to support the growth of Worcestershire businesses.

Grants of up to £100,000 are available although higher levels of support may be considered in exceptional circumstances and successful applications must:

•         Result in increased business productivity

•         Generate new, sustainable jobs based in Worcestershire

•         Provide match funding of at least 50%

•         Comply with State Aid regulations.

This is a two stage process with Expressions of interest for the first round open until 18 December 2015 and successful applicants will be invited to submit a full business case. The fund will run until March 2018, subject to availability.

The newly announced Worcestershire Growth Fund follows the success of previous programmes such as the Worcestershire Expansion Programme which supported 22 businesses with grant funding of £2,269,693 levering £13,747,345 from the private sector and creating 225 jobs whilst safeguarding a further 99 positions.  One of the businesses who were able to gain funding from that programme includes Marshall Management Services Ltd who trade as Gateway2Lease.

Droitwich-based, Gateway2Lease offer competitive vehicle leasing options for cars and commercial vehicles. Available products include both Business and Personal Contract Hire, Contract Purchase and Lease Purchase.

Funding from the Worcestershire Expansion Programme allowed Gateway2Lease to relocate to new offices at the Rylands Business Park in Elmley Lovett, Droitwich. The new offices are four times larger than the previous site and have provided the additional space required for the creation of new jobs required to grow. Gateway2Lease received a grant of £19,410.50 from Worcestershire Expansion Programme (WEP) in addition to their match funding investment of the same amount.

Gateway2Lease’s larger offices form a crucial part of the business’ overall expansion plans coupled with a substantially better IT infrastructure. The WEP funding also led to the creation of four new full-time positions and two new part-time positions while also safeguarding seventeen other jobs.

Rob Marshall, Director of Gateway2Lease, said: “We have been delighted with the support we have received from the Worcestershire Expansion Programme. Our business has been growing over the past few years and needs continual investment to ensure we can manage risks, keep up with fast moving technology and also to create the new jobs required for further growth.”

Gary Woodman, Executive Director of the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership (WLEP), added: “The new Worcestershire Growth Fund will have a hugely positive impact for many expanding businesses in Worcestershire and create many jobs within the County.”

“Gateway2Lease is a great example of a business that has already benefited from a similar funding scheme which enabled them to continue their business expansion and I am confident that the new Worcestershire Growth Fund will enable other businesses to grow and improve productivity.”

Cllr Simon Geraghty, Worcestershire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Economy, Skills and Infrastructure and WLEP Board member, added: “I would encourage businesses looking to expand to enquire at the earliest opportunity for the Worcestershire Growth Fund. The success of Gateway2Lease shows how funding schemes like this can benefit local companies which is part of our wider Open for Business priority to support the local economy and create new jobs.”

For further information on the Worcestershire Growth Fund, including dates for future rounds and how local businesses can apply, visit the Worcestershire.Business.Central. website at