A Liverpool city region support scheme that has helped create almost 300 jobs in the digital, creative and tech sectors is to be extended with an £895,000 cash injection. Tony McDonough reports
A support scheme that has helped create almost 300 jobs in Liverpool city region’s digital, creative and tech is to be extended with an extra £895,000.
Gather was launched by Metro Mayor Steve Rotherham and the Combined Authority in January 2020. This programme supported 178 digital, creative and tech (DCT) firms during the first phase.
A further 217 non-DCT ventures were offered support to help them survive the pandemic. As well as leading to the creation of 290 jobs, the project safeguarded a further 213 roles.
As well as helping create jobs, the scheme supported businesses have reported a £19.5m increase in turnover and 82% have said they will maintain or increase their revenue by their financial year ends.
Now a two-year extension is expected to support a further 119 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and create a further 85 jobs.
Mr Rotheram said: “Our area is fortunate to be home to a thriving digital and creative sector that supports tens of thousands of local jobs and delivers an abundance of training opportunities.
“I want to put those businesses in the best possible position to succeed. Through our investment in Gather, we have helped hundreds of local employers to strengthen their workforce and create quality, secure, and well-paid jobs for local people.
“Given the success of the scheme so far, we’re extending its funding so that more businesses and local people can benefit.
Gather was created with £3.5m of funding to support the city region’s DCT sector and has been delivered by Form, a local business support agency.
It was set up to provide leadership and mentoring to support SMEs with growth potential to enable them to create jobs, while increasing the number of businesses to create a critical mass of activity.
In May 2020, support was extended to non-DCT businesses to provide them with practical strategies and tools to boost their resilience during the pandemic.
Business support included on-line programmes, workshops and bespoke one-to-one support – with notable success stories including dynamic scale-ups with global reach such as Orcha, Milexa, and Springpod.
The total cost of the two-year extension proposal is around £1.3m. Under this model, the Combined Authority will invest £895,000 with the remainder of the cost – £380,000 – covered through corporate sponsorship and contributions from participants.