A £3.54 million scheme which could create at least 15 new jobs and protect at least 30 more has been unveiled by South Holland District Council.
Grants4Growth, a two-year project to make small and medium-sized businesses more cost and energy-efficient, was unanimously backed by council members at a meeting last Wednesday.
Funding for the project comes from the East Midlands European Regional Development Funds and allows businesses with a 200-strong workforce or less to apply for both capital and revenue grants of at least £1,000.
Coun Howard Johnson (pictured right), cabinet member for economic development, called the project “a total win-win“ for South Holland and a chance to stimulate the South Holland economy.
An extract from a report presented at the meeting said: “The council has an opportunity to assist local small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with capital and revenue grants to help them become more resource-efficient and grow through delivering a two-year Local Enterprise and Growth Efficiency Programme (LEGE) project.
“There are also revenue grants and other direct assistance to support SMEs to promote products and services such as clean technology and renewable energy.”
Coun Johnson said the project was a result of the council’s partnership with Breckland District Council which, he claimed, had seen a £40million boost in its economy since a similar project was launched ten years ago.
“The project came up in conversations with senior management of Breckland District Council and because it’s shared management, Grants4Growth has been extended to South Holland.
“There will be a lot of expertise from Breckland District Council being used because it’s been running there for about ten years ago and has generated about £40million.
“We will be employing three people, each on two-year contracts, who will be effectively running and making the project happen in South Holland.”
The project is expected to get under way this summer when businesses can claim back up to 30 per cent of the costs of new products, processes and equipment they invest in.
Coun Johnson said: “It will be open to all types of businesses, with one exception, those in primary agricultural production.
“We hope there will be at least 100 capital grants and at least 30 revenue grants available, with the main theme being the stimulation of low-cost environmental services.
“We are speaking to businesses all the time and we know there’s a lot of interest out there, which makes the project a total win-win for South Holland and something we want to push.”