Funding of between £5000 and £50,000 is now available from Solent LEP to businesses located on the Waterside areas of the New Forest. ‘Bridging the Gap (phase 2) is being awarded by the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership thanks to the national Regional Growth Fund which is being rolled out across England.

 The Solent LEP is running four separate Bridging the Gap funds to which applicants may apply. The total amount of funding available is £1.85m, with £500,000 ring-fenced for the Ford Impact Fund. Details of each Bridging the Gap Fund are outlined below.

SME Start-Up Fund
Bidders to this fund will be able to request funding in order to get a new business up and running. Bidders will be required to invest a minimum of 30% of the required start up funding.

SME Growth Fund
Bidders to this fund will be able to request funding in order to overcome barriers to growth within their SME or to facilitate business improvement. As existing SMEs are expected to have already overcome start up overheads and have existing working capital, bidders to this fund will be required to invest a higher proportion of the required capital: at least 50%.

SME Safeguarding Fund
Bidders to this fund will be able to request funding in order to mitigate potential job losses within their SME or to facilitate business improvement. As existing SMEs are expected to have already overcome start up overheads and have existing working capital, bidders to this fund will be required to invest a higher proportion of the required capital: at least 50%.

Ford Impact Fund
The Ford Impact Fund is open to bids from both Ford employees affected by redundancies at the Swaythling Plant in 2013 looking to Start-Up a new business as an alternative, and also to existing SMEs in the Ford supply chain looking to mitigate job losses expected as a result of the Swaythling Plant closure in 2013. As per the above Start-Up and Growth funds, employees looking to Start-Up a business will be required to invest 30% of the required start up funding for a project, and SMEs seeking to safeguard jobs will be required to invest a higher proportion of the required capital: at least 50%.

Applications for this funding are made in two stages; an Expression of Interest and if invited to do so following the EoI, a full application. There will be no fixed closing date for submission of applications, however, applicants should note that the Investment Panel will cease to meet when all funding is allocated and so it is recommended that bids are submitted as early as possible.

For further details of this scheme visit http://www.solentlep.org.uk/regional_growth_fund/bridging_the_gap_launched_in_southampton_isle_of_wight_and_new_forest_waterside

 

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