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High quality applicants are aiming to create hundreds of jobs through Humber Local Enterprise Partnership’s £7m-plus business loan fund.

The LEP’s investment board has so far fielded more than 30 enquiries with three weeks to go before the November 23 closing date for expressions of interest.

“They are mainly looking for loans in the range of £250,000 to £500,00 and we have had one approach for around a million,” said David Kilburn, chair of the Humber LEP Investment Board and executive chairman of MKM Building Supplies.

“We are impressed with their quality. They are established businesses that wish to expand, but need more cash to be able to fulfil their plans at a time when banks are reticent about supporting them.

The fund, which comes from the Department for Communities and Local Government’s Growing Places Fund, has an ultimate goal of boosting employment and accelerating economic growth through supporting stalled capital development projects.

The majority of enquiries so far to the Humber LEP have come from SMEs and have been wide-ranging, including businesses operating in the renewable energy, logistics and land infrastructure sectors. They have come from north and south of the Humber.

“Typically, each project that is successful in gaining loan funding would generate around 50 new jobs.

“It seems that business people here have gained a greater understanding of what the fund can do for them and are increasingly confident about coming forward, especially with the economy at last showing some encouraging upward signs,” said Mr Kilburn.

“The impact of a growing economy could be magnified on the Humber with all the opportunities the next few years could bring, in line with our key objectives of a renewable super-cluster on the Humber, boosting the Humber brand and increasing international trade,” Mr Kilburn said.

“It is too early to say whether the entire Humber loan fund will be allocated as that will depend on final assessments and then the due diligence process, although the initial response is certainly encouraging.”

Meanwhile, the Humber LEP is urging more businesses with proposals that will create sustainable employment to apply for funding. Topping the priority list will be projects with planning permission and other funding in place or those with available buildings and development land.

Mr Kilburn recommended that businesses talk informally with the LEP as soon as possible for a quick assessment of eligibility.

The first one-to-one meetings with applicants will start on November 5 at the Humber LEP at 48 Queen Street, Hull, with the aim of helping them present their projects in a way that will maximise their chances of gaining funding.

The process towards projects going before the investment board of private sector business leaders is designed to be as straightforward as possible.

A prospectus detailing the full eligibility criteria is now available to download.

For more information call 01482 485260.