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Helping Cumbrian businesses to grow

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Helping businesses grow

Sometimes businesses need extra help to make their expansion plans a reality.

That’s the thinking behind Cumbria Growth Fund, which was launched in 2015 after Cumbria Chamber of Commerce took part in a national competitive tendering process to secure £4m from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund.

Manufacturing businesses – and those in services to manufacturing – have been able to apply for grants of between £10,000 and £1m to cover up to 30% of the cost of project that support growth and improve competitiveness.

Rob Johnston, Chief Executive of Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, said: “Some people might question why public funds are used to invest in business but we know from dealing with businesses across Cumbria that many are on the brink of investment, but are hesitating because the risk is too great. A grant can de-risk the project, unlock private investment and so create jobs.”

The Regional Growth Fund was set up by the 2010-15 Coalition government to promote economic growth and lasting employment in the English regions.

A grant can de-risk the project, unlock private investment and so create jobs.

But when businesses apply directly, the minimum grant is £1m – which must be match funded – and that means that many worthwhile projects are simply not big enough to qualify. Cumbria Growth Fund has allowed many more businesses to benefit.

It has backed 45 projects with £3.8m of grant funding, helping to create or safeguard 533 jobs and levering-in another £24m of private investment.

You can read about some of the businesses that have received assistance by clicking the links below.

They include Tweddle Engineering, at Kirkbride, which is already reaping the benefits of an ambitious expansion programme.

CN Metalworks is about to move into a new purpose-built factory in Kendal.

CAD Works of Carlisle has built new premises to accommodate much of the business of Mitchell Dryers, which had fallen into administration.

Bells of Lazonby has invested in equipment, expanded its apprenticeship scheme and created training and development plans for its workforce.

Kendal Nutricare, which acquired the Heinz factory in Kendal in 2015, kickstarted its growth plans and is now exporting infant formula to China.

Jobling Purser has opened a £2.3m asphalt plant at Hespin Wood, near Carlisle.

South Tynedale Railway has opened a specialist heritage railway engineering workshop at Alston.

Oxley Developments, of Ulverston, has consolidated operations on one site to reduce overheads and boost efficiency.

And Ginger Bakers has moved into a purpose-built bakery after its old premises in Kendal were flooded by Storm Desmond in 2015.

© Cumbria Chamber of Commerce

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