£4.1m accelerator will support Mersey tech SMEs

New £4.1m business accelerator programme set to support the growth of up to 60 SMEs in Liverpool city region. Tony McDonough reports

Steve Rotheram
Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram wants to support tech-focused SMEs

 

A £4.1m tech accelerator will aim to support growth and job creation at up to 60 businesses during the next five years.

Metro Mayor Steve Rotherham will this week ask the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority to approve funding for the project. It will be aimed at SMEs already in the city region and those willing to relocate here.

Five accelerator programmes will run over five years. Each will support between seven and 12 companies. Further information on how companies can apply for support will be published when the initiative, if approved, is up and running.

Using the city region’s Strategic Investment Fund (SIF) a not-for-profit company would be set up. This will be overseen by a board and advisory panel, made up of volunteers from diverse backgrounds.

Working with the LCR Race Equality Programme, it will also ensure diversity among applicants. At least 10% of the companies supported will have founders who are from black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds.

Successful applicants will benefit from help to develop funding strategies and investor pitches. There will also be introductions to investors and potential collaborations with finance initiatives such as LCR Angels, the LCR Seed Fund and Finance Hub.

Mr Rotheram said: “SMEs are the cornerstone of our economy, accounting for 99% of all businesses in the Liverpool city region. They are fundamental to our present and future success. I want to support those businesses operating in those future-facing industries to expand and take their business to the next level.

“We want businesses to help us to create well-paid, secure jobs and training opportunities, attract investment and bring greater prosperity to our communities. They can also deliver a greater return on our investment while keeping more of the money we spend in the local economy.”

This launch follows a series of investments and initiatives including LYVA Labs, the High Growth Innovation Fund and the Future Innovation Fund – totalling almost £8.5m.

Deputy Metro Mayor Leader of Wirral Council, Cllr Janette Williamson, added: “We need to help our local tech firms to succeed and to create a supportive and attractive environment for businesses looking to relocate.

“This tech accelerator offers tailored, practical support that will help small and medium-sized businesses to speed up their growth. It will ensure that they embed our net zero ambitions and diversity targets within their plans.”

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