North East LEP announces major new funding

March 18, 2016 @ 10:06 by Alison Cowie

The region’s Local Enterprise Partnership is to invest up to £30 million in new capital infrastructure projects as part of its Growth Deal with Government

The North East Local Enterprise Partnership (North East LEP) has announced it will invest up to £30 million in well developed capital infrastructure projects in the region, as part of its Growth Deal with the Government.

Businesses and organisations interested in applying must projects that support the North East LEP’s smart specialisation sectors: passenger vehicle manufacture; subsea and offshore technology; life sciences and healthcare; and creative, digital, software and technology-based services.

Funding from the North East Growth Deal, which includes the Local Growth Fund, supports developments such as business incubation facilities, innovation and skills projects linked to the smart specialisation sectors.

The current round of funding will support projects with a well-researched and developed business case that can begin work in 2016/17 or early 2017/18 and will have significant impact in growing the North East’s economy. There are no strict upper or lower thresholds to project size or amount of support requested, but investments should be of a scale that can make a significant economic impact. Projects that are at the early stages of the planning process will not be considered at this time.

Completed Expression of Interest forms must be received by 23:59 on April 8 2016.

Helen Golightly, chief operating officer at the North East LEP, said: “We’ve already seen some hugely successful projects being delivered in the North East thanks to this funding. We hope this latest funding will see more investment in infrastructure which creates jobs in the North East.”

Current examples of projects include the new Centre for Enterprise and Innovation at University of Sunderland’s City Campus, which is due to open this winter, and was supported by a £4.9 million investment through the programme. Supporting the creation of hundreds of jobs in innovative, high-growth businesses and start-ups, the Centre will provide immediate access to applied research, business advice, mentoring and knowledge transfer partnerships, as well as additional support through student work placements and graduate internships.

Tyne Metropolitan College’s new IGNITE Centre for Engineering and Innovation, which opened in December 2015, received just over £1 million from the Local Growth Fund and is fast becoming the North East’s destination for the latest engineering skills and qualifications. IGNITE is now leading the way in industry approved engineering qualifications as employers look to boost workforces with the right skills and the right qualifications for the job.

The Sill, a new tourism development in Northumberland, received £1 million of funding from the Rural Growth Network. It will create at least 120 jobs, contribute almost £5 million in visitor spending to the North East economy per annum and provide a unique training and education facility for future generations. The centre will also house a rural enterprise hub for 10-20 businesses. The Sill will bring together private, public and charitable sectors under one roof, in turn providing valuable networking opportunities and opening them up to thousands of potential customers each year.

For more information about the current round of funding visit or to speak to the North East LEP about submitting an Expression of Interest.