More cash on offer for small firms

Pic by Edward  Moss'Wolverhampton Development Company
Pic by Edward Moss'Wolverhampton Development Company

A REGENERATION boss has urged Hartlepool’s smaller firms to snap up sources of money which are going begging.

Too few town firms are bidding for money from sources such as the JEREMIE initiative and European bank funds, says Stephen Catchpole who is the managing director for Tees Valley Unlimited (TVU).

JEREMIE is a scheme in which EU countries can use structural funds to back small and medium sized companies through equity, loans or guarantees.

Mr Catchpole said it was important that Tees Valley firms realised there were money sources available such as this because they were not taking up enough of their allocation so far.

Speaking at a briefing held in Hartlepool in which the £1billion Regional Growth Fund was being discussed, Mr Catchpole said: “Access to finance is the issue which comes up about small business, and about what stops them from growing.

“They find it difficult to access finance and if they are offered money, it is at a rate which prohibits them.”

But he urged firms not to concentrate on just seeking RGF money as other pots of cash such as JEREMIE were available.

He urged firms: “Make sure you know what is on offer. Our share of that money is nowhere near the proportion we should be getting based on population.”

He said regional campaigners were now making big efforts to explain what is on offer and added: “We don’t want to see, in a year or two years time, that the take-up is woefully low. RGF is not the be-all and end-all. There are other business support mechanisms that are very good.”

Meanwhile, early £1bn is up for grabs under the RGF itself.

Firms in Hartlepool are being urged to claim before bidding closes on Friday, July 1.

Officials at Tees Valley Unlimited (TVU), which is co-ordinating the area’s bid for cash, promised their full advice and support.

Anyone wanting to find out more about RGF, should come alomg to a roadshow is also being planned by the Department of Business Innovation and Skills in Newcastle on Thursday, June 2.

To register, contact (0207) 2156758 or email growthfund@bis.gsi.gov.uk