09 November 2012

A Desborough-based firm which crafts high-end quality shoes for the global market is one of the companies to have benefitted from a scheme established by Northamptonshire County Council which aims to boost business and create jobs.

The pioneering INV-ENT scheme has helped Cheaney Shoes ensure that every component of its hand-made footwear is produced in England. Such craftsmanship is still very much sought after and helps to keep skilled jobs in the county.

The INV-ENT initiative, which is administered by Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership, allows small and medium-sized companies to apply for a business rate rebate of up to £20,000. In Cheaney’s case it received £12,800 which was enough to help the firm of 125 staff to buy new machinery and take on more employees.

Now the deadline is drawing near for submissions for the third round of the INV-ENT scheme with firms invited to make applications by November 21.

Cllr Jim Harker, Leader of the county council, said: “What we have here is a quality product which represents everything that is truly great about British manufacturing being produced right here in Northamptonshire.

“Cheaney Shoes represented just the sort of firm which we believe has the potential to grow, given a helping hand, so that they have the funds and confidence to expand during these difficult economic times.

“Our INV-ENT scheme allows us to use a relatively small amount of public investment to make an enormous difference to businesses in the county and we are already starting to see real change.”

Jonathan Church, Joint Managing Director of Cheaney Shoes, said: “The rebate will be put to very good use within the business. I am delighted to report that we have already taken on two additional employees in our factory since June.

“It is vital that the factory keeps pace with the growing global demand for our products. We aim to do this through a combination of recruiting skilled employees where possible, and providing in house training to other employees.”

A total fund of £270,000 has been allocated for this third round of INV-ENT, with a focus on supporting businesses in high-growth and advanced technology–led sectors, which have been identified as key growth sectors for the county.

So far INV-ENT, through an investment of £320,000 has levered in £3.6million of private sector money with investment in 24 local companies. There has been the creation of an additional 80 jobs and 40 apprenticeships while 140 people have been assisted in their skills development.

To request an application form, please contact Fiona Galbraith at Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership fiona.galbraith@northamptonshireep.co.uk