The Solent Local Enterprise Partnership has launched a new fund to support growth and job creation at the Solent Enterprise Zone at Daedalus.
The Solent Enterprise Zone Advanced Manufacturing Expansion Fund is a new £2.94m fund for SMEs based on or re-locating to the former airfield.
The expansion fund will target businesses in the aerospace, aviation and marine industries, and it is hoped it will lead to the creation and safeguarding of 300 jobs and 60 new apprenticeships at the site. This will form a key part of the ambition to create 3,500 jobs on the site by 2026. The announcement follows recent news that more than £25m will be invested by the Solent LEP and partners into critical infrastructure at the site.
The Expansion Fund will be inviting bids for grants of between £50,000 and £200,000 to fund up to 20% of the total cost of a project. The investment panel leading on the allocation of funding will be looking to target capital investment into businesses, such as the purchase of land, facilities and equipment, which will unlock employment directly by the private sector and ensure any jobs created are sustainable. Funding will be allocated on a competitive basis and only those projects which maximise private investment into the site and create the highest number of jobs are likely to be supported.
Gary Jeffries, Solent LEP Director and lead for the Solent Enterprise Zone, said: “We are very excited that we have this opportunity to accelerate the growth we are anticipating at the Zone. The Solent Enterprise Zone is quickly being established as a unique location for businesses, with its combination of runway and waterfront access, secure sites for defence firms, significant infrastructure investment from the LEP and partners and now grant funding directly for businesses based on the site. This is all on top of the benefits Enterprise Zone status brings in relation to Government rates relief and simplified planning processes. The combination of these opportunities for businesses means we have a truly unique offer for the Advanced Manufacturing sector here at the Solent Enterprise Zone.”
The Solent LEP will be working closely with colleagues at Gosport Borough Council to deliver the funding to businesses on the Enterprise Zone.
Cllr Mark Hook, Leader of Gosport Borough Council, added: “We have worked closely with colleagues at the LEP and Homes and Communities Agency to secure this funding and align it with the other elements of the Enterprise Zone project. Gosport currently has one of the lowest ratios of jobs to resident population in the UK and the jobs we will be able to create with this funding will go some way to rebalancing this.”
The first round of applications will close on 30 November 2012 you want your project to be considered at the earliest possible opportunity.