Businesses in Tees Valley urged to partake in workshops shaping the future of funding in the region

Businesses are being urged to step forward and shape how vital funding will help the future of thousands of businesses across the region.

Business Support Engagement Workshops will take place at Teesside University next week – with Tees Valley firms encouraged to come along and offer their insight and experience. Run by the Tees Valley Business Board, the workshops are seeking to better understand the current business landscape and the support local businesses need.

Past experiences of Combined Authority funding, Digital City money, and European Funding are being sought.

The idea is this will help steer the future of the UKSPF (UK Shared Prosperity Fund) and how this money will be best used to support local firms in 2024.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “Businesses in Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool are some of the finest in the country – and the knowledge and expertise they have is second to none. Making sure we cut out the nonsense and ridiculous hoops hardworking firms had to jump through to access vital grant funding in the past is at the heart of what these workshops want to achieve.

“We have a great relationship with our region’s companies – we want to take the best of what we’ve done in the past and add it to what we can learn from our lifeline local businesses to ensure this money gets where we need it most.”

Upcoming sessions are being held in-person at Teesside University, but a session is also available online. Where possible, those taking part are encouraged to join in-person to get the most out of the discussions.

Siobhan McArdle, chair of the Tees Valley Business Board, said: “Our SME business community is now presented with unprecedented opportunities, not least with Middlesbrough and Hartlepool Investment Zones on the horizon, and we need to make sure that businesses with the appetite to develop and grow are match fit to take advantage of this potential for growth.

“We know from anecdotal feedback that our SME business community has found previous programmes cumbersome and bureaucratic, and we need to streamline all business support programmes going forwards to ensure they deliver for business in a timely and pragmatic way.

“We are working to very tight deadlines to enable us to deliver the right business support into the market by March 2024, and it is vital to the success of future provision, including the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, that we get this right for business.

“I would urge any business leaders interested in making the most of these opportunities, or with previous experience of accessing funded support, to add their experiences to this discussion.”

Credit: Bdaily

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