THE Gazette's Let's Grow campaign has won strong support from the Local Enterprise Partnership.
The campaign, run by the Gazette and its sister paper, The Journal in Newcastle, called for local firms to come together to bid for money from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund and already almost 60 businesses have sent in their applications, resulting in a £3.3m bid and a combined private sector investment plan of £15.4m.
Stephen Catchpole, managing director of Tees Valley Unlimited which runs the LEP, has written to Lord Heseltine, chair of the fund’s Independent Approval Panel, urging him to approve the bid.
He told Lord Heseltine: “The Let’s Grow campaign is an innovative RGF Package Bid, led by the private sector and delivered with the help of the local media.
“Among the 14 North-east companies included in this package are three bids from our Tees Valley region.
“These companies are looking to invest £1.5m in Tees Valley leading to the creation of 62 private sector jobs. The overall package covers the North-east region and totals over £15m private sector investment and the creation of 415 and the safeguarding of 52 direct sustainable jobs.
“Tees Valley Unlimited’s Leadership Board has driven our Statement of Ambition which sets out our aim to create a more diversified, inclusive, private-sector driven economy. We have been active in supporting and promoting the Lets Grow package bid which offers an ideal opportunity to achieve this goal through Regional Growth Fund support.
“I would urge the Panel to approve the NCJ Media package which has promoted the Government’s Regional Growth Fund opportunity to our local SME companies and provided practical support to help smaller companies access the fund.”
Let’s Grow has been run with support from Business and Enterprise Group and advisors, Newcastle-based accountants UNW.
It is backed by the North East Chamber of Commerce, the CBI, Federation of Small Businesses and the engineering group EEF.