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By ensuring that the business voice is heard and businesses can access all the support they need to grow, the Humber LEP has been supporting business growth throughout the Humber during 2018/19.

The Humber Business Growth Hub significantly expanded this year after the LEP and local authority partners secured a three-year, £6m investment from the European Regional Development Fund.  This will enable more SMEs in the region to be supported to grow their businesses with a range of new support now available.

Set up in 2014, the Growth Hub supports businesses and pre-start individuals across the Humber to access the wide range of business support available to them through a dedicated adviser team and comprehensive online support directory. Whether it is access to finance, support to enter supply chains, or advice to set up a new business, the Growth Hub has already supported thousands of businesses and individuals. In 2018/19 alone, 486 businesses were supported with intensive face-to-face support.

Launched in November 2018, the Growth Hub’s #GrowMySME Programme is a dedicated new package of high-growth SME support across three strands. The ICT for Growth Scheme offers businesses support to help them utilise cutting-edge digital technology and systems that can add value and aid their business growth. Whether it’s advice and guidance on the use of ‘big data’ to drive new product development, or grant funding to implement specialist software to aid quality assurance processes, the ICT for Growth Scheme will help more Humber SMEs to be at the forefront of using digital technology in their businesses.

The Finance for Growth Scheme assists SMEs to better understand their funding needs in relation to their growth plans, and specialist advisors – together with a workshop series – help businesses to explore and demystify the broad array of funding products that are available to them. Our grant funding can help to pay for the creation of business plans, integrated financial projections and investment prospectuses.

Finally, the Business Growth Scheme provides wrap-around support to help SMEs plan their growth journey through one-to-one advisor support, a comprehensive programme of workshops and masterclasses, grants to access specialist sources of consultancy and advice, sector and supply chain developments support, and a Scale-Up Business Development Programme – which will give business leader the tools they need to accelerate growth in their scale-up potential businesses.

The #GrowMySME Programme is being delivered by the Humber LEP and Hull City Council in partnership with the East Riding of Yorkshire Council, North Lincolnshire Council, North East Lincolnshire Council and e-Factor Group Ltd.

Our other support schemes continue to support businesses across the Humber.  Our Growing the Humber capital grant programme, managed by North East Lincolnshire Council, provided support to more businesses during 2018/19, like Blackrow Engineering, Hallmark Panels, New Holland Extraction and Hodgson Sealants.

Since the programme’s inception, almost £30m has been invested in 414 local businesses, helping them to create more than 2,800 new jobs. By 2021 the programme will have enabled £154m private sector investment in the Humber and supported businesses to create a further 200 new jobs.

Business loans of between £100k and £1m continue to be available via the LEP to support stalled infrastructure projects and unlock development. In total, 20 businesses and projects have now accessed £11.3m in loans securing more than £16m additional investment.

Thanks to our partnership with other Northern LEPs and the British Business Bank, £400m of debt, equity and microfinance is also available through the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund – and over £3m has now been invested in Humber businesses like Moodbeam and AFOS.

Brexit remained an important factor for many businesses this year.  Our Growth Hub has provided advice and information throughout the year and has also been active in feeding business concerns into Government.

Recognising the importance of regulation, the ‘Better Business for All Humber’ partnership was formed in 2018/19 to bring together a multitude of regulatory organisations in order to improve the flow of information to businesses.  The partnership has already run a training session with officers and obtained national pilot funding to investigate new methods of regulatory engagement with SMEs.

The Marketing Strategy Group has representation from a range of sectors and organisations with the remit of overseeing the promotion of the region nationally and internationally and focussing it on the key sector strengths and assets of the area. Activity has included the development of the Invest Humber website with Marketing Humber.

Key Facts:

13,019 businesses supported by the Growth Hub

£11.06m loaned through the Business Loan Fund

£6.1m ERDF funding secured to expand Growth Hub services

3,305 jobs created through our support to business

£147m levered from the private sector