Granting Your Business Growth Wishes

Mark Schofield, director of Haworths Chartered Accountants, discusses why funding for Lancashire’s SMEs has never been better

“Lancashire-based SMEs could be struggling to achieve growth when the funding they need is right there waiting for them…they just need to know where to look!

“It’s been a tough few years for the region’s SMEs: not only did the troubled economy mean that business was harder come by and profit margins were sliced thinner and thinner, it also meant that nervous and beleaguered banks were reluctant to lend any capital. Meanwhile, Government cuts brought an end to financial help from the Regional Development Agency and North West Business Link, leaving the Lancashire business community wondering whether this was the end for central Government support for our SMEs.

“That’s the back story but, if we fast forward to present day Lancashire, I can honestly say that the future has never looked brighter for the county’s SMEs – wherever they sit on that small to medium scale. The economy and commercial confidence are both showing signs of a lasting recovery and grant support for SMEs has never been better…thanks to Regenerate Pennine Lancashire (RPL).

“As a chartered accountancy firm in Lancashire, Haworths is often asked for advice on securing capital for business expansion and we still find that many companies simply don’t know which way to turn. However, if you have a business-to-business based SME, your prospects for securing grant support are better than they’ve ever been!

“Capital grants of up to £50,000 are available for start-up businesses, grants of up to £150,000 are available for established businesses through the Accelerating Business Growth (ABG) fund and the ABC+ fund provides medium-sized businesses with grants of up to £1 million.

“It’s never easy for a business to decide that the time is right to begin a capital investment programme to generate growth, but the availability of grant support makes that decision making process less daunting. It’s simply a matter of being informed about how and where to apply for funding and this information is all set out clearly on the RPL website.

“With its creative industries, engineering and aerospace pedigree and a manufacturing heritage that is helping to pull work back from China and India, Lancashire has a thriving economy.  The prospects for positive growth are good. By finding out where you could access funding, your prospects could be excellent too.”