City region growth fund offers £2.24m in grants

A new £2.24m High Growth Innovation Fund will offer Liverpool city region small firms grants of between £25,000 and £75,000 to help take their innovations to market. Tony McDonough reports

Steve Rotheram
Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram is looking to support innovation and high-growth SMEs


Small firms across Liverpool city region are being offered access to a £2.24m High Growth Innovation Fund to help turn their new ideas into reality.

Funded by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and the European Regional Development Fund, grants of between £25,000 and £75,000 will be available to high growth businesses, and those with the potential to be high growth.

It is intended to support existing businesses in Liverpool, Wirral, Knowsley, Sefton, St Helens and Halton get new products or services to market, or develop new processes to help them adapt and grow.

The fund builds on two pilot rounds of the Future Innovation Fund which saw 35 local companies receive support worth £2.1m. It will contribute to Mayor Steve Rotheram’s ambition to invest 5% of regional GVA on research and development by 2030.

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Cllr Jan Williamson, Combined Authority Portfolio Holder for Inclusive Economy and Third Sector, said: “We know how important our small and medium sized businesses are. They provide the vast bulk of employment and we need high-growth businesses to perform to their full potential, creating good quality jobs and boosting our economy.

“This investment will do exactly that, supporting our high-performing SMEs to ensure that they can play a full role in our economic recovery as we look to rebuild after the pandemic.”

The High Growth Innovation Fund is part of a new £6.6m LCR High Growth Programme, that will provide a range of tailored business support to high growth SMEs, complementing the £75m Business Support Package launched by Mayor Rotheram in September 2019.

“SMEs are the lifeblood of the Liverpool City Region’s economy, accounting for 99% of all businesses in our region,” said Mr Rotheram. “The role they have to play in helping drive our recovery from the pandemic cannot be understated. We need smart, bold businesses in our region with the potential – and ambition – to expand and innovate.

Delivered by Growth Platform, the fund is open to projects from any sector, speciality or technology (except those specifically excluded in the eligibility criteria). Applicants must have 50% match funding, must not use the funding to pay existing salaries and should aim to demonstrate impact within six months of receiving a grant.

Applications for the new High Growth Innovation Fund are now open and will close at 5pm on Friday 20 May. For more detail on how to apply, including eligibility criteria, click here.

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