£13 million milestone for Cornish grants team
2013 has been a record year for Ewan McClymont and the Grant Services team at Britain’s fastest growing accountants, Bishop Fleming – and he predicts more access to business funds.
Mr McClymont’s team has helped secure more than £13m for Cornish businesses in sectors ranging from manufacturing and advanced engineering to technology-based services.
60% of the funding was secured through ERDF Convergence programmes such as Gap Fund for Buildings, Grant for Business Investment (GBI) and Business Investment for Growth (BIG). The remainder came from the UK Government’s newer Growing Places Fund and Regional Growth Fund, some of which had been drawn down by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership) and managed locally by Cornwall Development Company.
Projects include the creation of over 14,500 m2 of additional workspace at Pendennis Shipyard, as well as the refurbishment of the eastern breakwater operated by Falmouth Petroleum. Both projects form a major part of the Port of Falmouth Masterplan, commissioned in 2008 by Cornwall Council.
Other projects included investment in capital equipment by Teagle Machinery to boost new product development, as well as capital equipment for European Springs and Pressings to increase sales into the automotive spares sector.
Friends and Relations, The Online Book Company based at the Tremough Innovation Centre, will also benefit from focused IT platform development to significantly grow its product line and service offering.
Those grants helped to create 100 new jobs and safeguard over 900 jobs in Cornwall.
Whilst the current round of EU Convergence funding must be committed by the end of December 2013, the money has until June 2015 to be spent. “This means that several grant schemes still have money to invest into businesses next year”, said Mr McClymont.
Meanwhile, Cornwall will have another seven-year round of EU funding, starting in January 2014, for which the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP has produced a draft investment programme that includes proposals for a move away from non-repayable grants, and more loans, guarantees and other financial tools that enable funds to be recycled and re-used.
Mr McClymont added: “If these draft plans are approved by the Government this would be a much more balanced use of public money, as the repayment of the loans means that the money can be recycled several times to help other businesses in the future.
“Grants can be very effective if used for the right companies in the right sectors: but once that money is spent, it’s gone”, said Mr McClymont.
He predicts that greater certainty of available funding sources will help boost economic growth in Cornwall.
“Having come through a period of uncertainty since the abolition of the Regional Development Agency and Business Links, we now have clear engagement with public funding, both at a national and European level, through the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP”, he added.
Notes to Photograph
Pictured is the superyacht Rebecca, built in 1999 at Pendennis Shipyard, and back for a refit. Rebecca is the first yacht to enter Construction Hall 2, which has been built as part of the new yard development. Photo courtesy of Andrew Wright.
Wednesday 13 November 2013