INV-ENT, a local funding programme designed to enable Northamptonshire’s innovative small businesses to develop and grow, has seen a strong response to its latest round with 26 applications.
INV-ENT provides business rate rebates of up to £20,000 to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), enabling investment in business development and ultimately the creation of new jobs in the county.
Applications for the sixth round of INV-ENT, funded by Northamptonshire County Council (NCC) and delivered jointly with NEP, are currently being appraised with contracts due to be awarded in September.
How much funding has been allocated?
Since its inception in 2011, NCC and NEP have invested over £990,000 in 69 business projects through the INV-ENT initiative. This has led to the creation of over 400 new jobs and more than 100 apprenticeships as well as training to develop the skills of nearly 600 local employees.
Subject to remaining funds, the seventh round of INV-ENT will open in October. All rate-paying SMEs in Northamptonshire are eligible to apply.
Sajeeda Rose, Deputy Chief Executive, NEP said: “We’re thrilled to see INV-ENT continue to draw a significant level of interest from local businesses. We know from previous rounds just how beneficial this kind of support can be.
"This time, we have broadened the criteria to focus on all Northamptonshire’s key sectors including High Performance Technologies, Logistics, Food & Drink, Financial Services and Creative & Cultural Industries. It’s exciting to see this mirrored in the breadth and strength of applications we received."
Cllr Jim Harker, Leader of Northamptonshire County Council, said: "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.
"We are just coming out of a very difficult period economically and I believe that innovative schemes, such as this, have been paramount in invigorating the local economy."
Local businesses from across the county have already benefited from INV-ENT funding.
Mike Britton, Managing Director of Goodwill Solutions in Northampton which received funding under round 5 of INV-ENT, said: "I found the whole application process, which involved a short presentation to a panel of industry experts, quite straight forward and we have benefited not only from financial support through INV-ENT, we have also managed to strengthen our business network."
Lyndsey Simpson, Co-owner of another INV-ENT beneficiary, The Curve Group, said: "Receiving support under INV-ENT has enabled us to continue to base our head office in Northamptonshire.
"It has also enabled us to introduce improved systems and expand our premises, allowing The Curve Group to continue a period of hyper-growth. NEP’s advice also led us to broadening out and taking on our own apprenticeship scheme as well as looking at taking on additional premises."