The Regional Growth Fund (RGF) is a £2.4bn Government fund to which businesses across England can apply for grants and loans. The RGF, which was launched in 2011 and will run until 2015, supports projects offering significant potential for sustainable economic growth and which will create new jobs – and safeguard existing ones – within the private sector, writes Milsted Langdon.
In particular, the fund is aimed at helping areas which are currently dependent on the public sector make the transition to long-term private sector-led growth. Bids can be made for individual projects, or in collaboration with other organisations, known as a programme bid.
The minimum funding which applicants can bid for is £1m, which is likely to exceed the requirements – and resources – of many small and medium-sized businesses. However, that does not mean that firms in this sector cannot access RGF funding.
If you are a small business owner and wish to bid for smaller amounts of money, such as £10,000, then you can apply directly to existing projects run by public and private partnerships in your local area. These can include local authorities, universities and even your local newspaper. At Milsted Langdon, we can advise you on projects being run in your area and help you prepare your application, providing as much – or as little – advice as you need along the way.
Alternatively, if you wish to bid for at least £1m for an individual project then you can apply directly to the RGF. If an individual project falls below this threshold then you can collaborate with other organisations to put forward a programme bid. When making a programme bid, a lead organisation must be identified to take responsibility for the delivery of the programme. Again, Milsted Langdon can help with the preparation and submission of individual project or programme bids.
So far, around £1.4bn has been allocated in three separate bidding rounds. The third round closed in June this year, with successful bids due to be announced this autumn. The Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) has not yet announced when the next round of bidding will take place, but the RGF will run until 2015.
In the meantime, Milsted Langdon can advise on whether your business and proposed project or programme would be eligible for the scheme and then help you put forward the strongest possible application. With such an important application, it is always best to seek expert advice from professionals who understand the RGF process, including what the assessors will be looking for when allocating funding.
For further information, please contact Jon Stocker at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.milsted-langdon.co.uk