Time running out to apply for £1m SME fund

Small and medium-sized businesses in Liverpool city region have until March 31 to apply for grants from a £1m fund. Tony McDonough reports

Katherine Jones
Katherine Jones, founder of ThinK Wine, which secured money from the fund


SMEs across Liverpool city region are being urged to apply for grants from a £1m support fund ahead of the deadline on March 21.

In summer 2020, economic development agency Growth Platform relaunched the New Markets 2 funding pot. It offers grants to businesses to help them pay for commercial business advice and support.

So far 291 businesses have secured cash from the fund, helping them to create more than 280 jobs. Funding is still available but the deadline for applications is March 31, meaning firms need to act quickly to take advantage.

Eligible businesses can receive a 35% contribution to the cost of consultancy or agency fees. These can include financial advice, HR support, legal advice, export, as well as strategic development including marketing and sales.

Janice Mears, head of business growth at Growth Platform, said: “New Markets 2 has been a fantastic success over the past seven years.

“It has helped 291 businesses in the Liverpool City Region access high value commercial business advice and support to help their businesses grow and develop, but this money isn’t going to be around for much longer.

“35% towards this support could make all the difference to an SME and could be the difference between being able to expand and just stand still. To simplify the process even more we also launched, last year, New Markets 2: Express for projects between £3,000 and £5,000. This helps to speed up the process.”

Examples of businesses which have successfully accessed New Markets 2 ERDF include:

  • Skyhook Games which provides high quality 2D and 3D art for the video games industry. The company used a New Markets 2 grant to form a new product development department.
  • Multiple award-winning ThinK Wine, founded by Katherine Jones, used funding from New Markets 2 to help towards the cost of an interim finance director to help the company with forecasting and establishing budgets.
  • Tulway Engineering received a New Markets 2 grant for PR and marketing support. This has led to an increase in work and a rise in headcount of 20%.

Part funded by the EU, the programme was developed by Growth Platform working with local partners across the City Region. More information can be found by clicking here.

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