Worcestershire businesses urged to grab a grant

Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership is urging firms to take advantage of further Government pump-priming cash.

And, in particular, it is highlighting two initiatives – phase three of the £1.4 billion Regional Growth Fund and the new £125 million Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative.

“These are terrific opportunities for companies looking to expand and grow,” said LEP chairman Peter Pawsey.

“Worcestershire has a good record of winning RGF bids. I want to see that extended, and we need a similar response on the supply chain side.”

The county was successful in round one of the RGF with £17.5 million allocated to Worcester Technology Park, a huge tonic for the local economy. It is hoped the scheme for land east of the M5 at J6 will ultimately result in the creation of up to 1,700 jobs over the next 5-10 years.

Phase two of RGF allowed Blackpole-based group Aeromet International to win £1.7 million towards an £11.4 million project to help market a new cast aluminium alloy, A20X, which has applications in the aerospace, automotive, defence, nuclear, marine and specialist engineering markets.

The strongest cast aluminium alloy commercially available, among other benefits it offers improved corrosion resistance, extended fatigue life and weight saving potential.

The money will allow Aeromet International, working with partners in Bolton and Rotherham together with Warwick and Birmingham universities, to bring the alloy to the market quicker.

Mr Pawsey said: “Both Worcester Technology Park and Aeromet’s new alloy will develop high end manufacturing while producing badly needed skilled jobs.

“Now companies have another chance to benefit. We have been working with businesses to identify appropriate schemes. Others who may be interested need to come forward – we can provide information and support.”

The closing date for Regional Growth Fund 3 is June 13.

The Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative has the same deadline and is being delivered by Birmingham City Council and the Technology Strategy Board.

With up to £125 million from the RGF and Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, it offers a flexible package of grants and loans to help improve global competitiveness. It will back the purchase of capital equipment, research and development which improves manufacturing equipment, systems or processes, and specific training and skills development to support the project.

Mr Pawsey said: “Applications have to be of a sufficient size to make a significant impact on supply chains.

“Companies with good ideas and technological aspirations, but who perhaps have not had the resources to develop these ambitions, now have the chance. They should take it.”