South West Growth Fund delivers £2.3 million business boost
13th July 2016
23 businesses from Cornwall to Gloucestershire are now benefitting from grants totalling £2.3million from the South West Growth Fund. These first grants from the fund, which was launched last year by Plymouth University’s GAIN team, SWMAS Ltd, Bournemouth Water Business Services and the Western Morning News, will deliver 300 new jobs for the region.
Supported by the Regional Growth Fund, the £8.7million South West Growth Fund supports transformational projects in businesses, primarily in manufacturing, marine and digital industries and is set to create a total of 1,000 new jobs.
The successful firms, ranging from food and drink manufacturers to aerospace companies, are the first to benefit from the new fund. The grants will support major expansions and allow a number of manufacturing and engineering firms to invest in the latest equipment to fast-track their growth and help them to compete nationally and internationally.
Businesses are now being encouraged to give their expressions of interest by 11th July and submit full applications by 12th August to have a chance of securing a slice of the remaining fund.
Eligible manufacturing businesses can access expert advice from SWMAS Ltd, whose manufacturing specialists are on hand to provide independent technical knowledge and practical training for staff, helping firms make informed investment decisions and then supporting the deployment of new technologies into their production processes. Each successful business will also receive free water and energy audits provided by Bournemouth Water Business Services as a continuation of their mission to help regional businesses be more efficient.
Adrian Dawson, Head of GAIN at Plymouth University said: “The South West Growth Fund is the latest round of RGF funding to have been secured for the South West by GAIN and regional partners. Together these funds now total more than £20million and are forecast to support the creation of nearly 2,500 new jobs. “As a University, we are particularly pleased that these grants will create a number of high level jobs, helping more of our graduates to stay in the South West as well as boosting innovation across the region.”
Simon Howes, Managing Director of SWMAS Ltd, said: “This scheme is unique, combining both funding for capital investment and expert on site support. It is delivering growth to our region and driving productivity improvements for our ambitious clients continuing our 13-year history of championing manufacturing in the South West.”
Monica Read, Bournemouth Water’s Business Services and Sustainability Director, said: “Bournemouth Water Business Services is delighted to have played a key role in helping to secure funding for these grants, which are already providing a big boost to developing businesses and creating jobs in the South West. Our business customers are our priority and we are pleased to offer free water and energy audits to successful companies, helping them to be resource efficient.”
Bill Martin, Editor of the Western Morning News said: “The Western Morning News has been proud to support Westcountry business throughout its history and is delighted to be associated with the type of job creation being stimulated by the South West Growth Fund.”
High growth businesses across the region, from Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Dorset to Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly can still apply for grants of up to £1million by visiting: www.gaininbusiness.com/swgf or www.swmas.co.uk/business-support/south-west-growth-fund-0
Case studies: Funding delivers skilled jobs in Poole
A Poole-based optical engineering firm is creating four skilled jobs and developing new products thanks to a new machine, funded by a £20,500 grant from the South West Growth Fund. The new equipment will enable Crystran to introduce new, more complex, optical components to the market-place while reducing their manufacturing costs by improving the speed and quality of their crystal polishing processes.
Crystran produces lenses, prisms and specialist optics for a range of sectors, including universities, research institutes and medical instrument companies. The new equipment will allow the firm to mass-produce highly polished surfaces in a large range of optical materials such as calcium fluoride, silicon and germanium. This will help the firm branch into new markets, including aerospace, as well as helping to meet increasing demands from their established customers.
The team currently polishes by hand, using traditional methods that have been honed over decades of practice. The machine will not only produce an even better result more quickly, but will allow Crystran to work with more complex shapes and different materials.
Mark Middleton of Crystran said: “The new polisher will open up a whole new area of research and development so we can meet the exacting standards of our clients, on a range of different materials and shapes. It will help us differentiate ourselves from our competitors and
propel ourselves into new areas of industry.”
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