£5.6m funding programme announced to support SME growth across Tees Valley

Funding to strengthen and support the start-up and scale-up of micro, small and medium size businesses across Tees Valley has been launched today.

An open call for innovative pilot projects, designed to support the incubation and accelerated growth of SME businesses, will begin on 20 December and run until 31 January 2024.

All organisations who can provide innovative business development and support services are encouraged to bid, with proposals demonstrating how they will engage and identify SME businesses with the potential for growth, and support those businesses in the development and delivery of high growth, sustainable business and investment plans.

An engagement event is being held on Wednesday, 10 January, at the Riverside Stadium to encourage and support SMEs to apply. The call has been launched by the Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority, will be overseen by the Tees Valley Business Board, and is funded by the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF).

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen commented: “SMEs are the lifeblood of our economy but it’s clear that support is still needed to help them grow and match the pace of the wider UK. This funding is looking for businesses to put forward bold new ideas which will work together to provide a shot in the arm for our economy.

“We’re working hard to transform Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool but they mean nothing if our brilliant local businesses aren’t getting the help they need to create jobs and capitalise on all we’re doing here, and that’s exactly what this funding will provide.”

Tees Valley Business Board Chair Siobhan McArdle said: “This scheme aims to address and improve the low rates of business density, start-up and scale-up, across our region and is in direct response to our SME business community, following our recent business engagement sessions, which were designed to identify the support businesses need to drive growth.

“We’re making huge efforts in simplifying processes and streamlining support so firms can access pragmatic and timely assistance, with a commitment from the Business Board that a significant proportion of the funding available will go directly to those SME businesses with the ambition and robust plans to grow.

“We would encourage anyone interested in submitting a bid, or who simply wants to understand more about the Combined Authority’s procurement processes, to come along to the information session in January to fully understand the requirements of the specification and so put together a winning bid.”

The open call announcement comes days after a new UKSPF-funded scheme, Tees Valley Net Zero, was launched offering easy-to-understand guidance and support for businesses on their way to Net Zero. It offers fully funded consultancy support and up to £2,000 in grant funding for firms, as well as online tools and regular webinars and workshops.

Credit: Bdaily

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