LEP Growth Service off to a flying start

Since launching the LEP’s growth service in July 2015, a single contact point that helps small and medium sized businesses to achieve their growth ambitions, over 1,000 companies have received support, advice or finance.

In further good news, the LEP has secured the future of the service for an additional two years with just over £1 million funding from central government.

The majority of enquiries to the LEP growth service have been from businesses seeking financial support. As a result, over 100 LEP grant applications have now been submitted. The aim of the grant is to enhance investments businesses are making in plant, machinery, and new equipment by making a contribution of up to 20 per cent.

The award-winning Eric Richmond Meat and Pie Company is currently benefitting from working with the LEP. The Ossett-based company was founded in 1945 by Mr Eric Richmond, the youngest Lancaster bomber pilot from the Second World War, who flew with the RAF 100 Squadron and turned his hand to the family butchers business soon after.

Having passed the recipe down through the generations, the company was recently bought by Tom Martin who had plans to increase sales and explore new markets for the business. Mr Martin had heard of the LEP’s new service through his local growth manager for Wakefield, Pat Coffey, and wanted to explore what assistance was available to help fulfil their growth ambition.

Following the meetings with Pat, the business received support to take on two new apprentices, to help pass down vital skills and expertise. Mr Martin also successfully applied for a £15,500 LEP grant to upgrade machinery and adapt the factory for greater efficiency. One to one mentoring from MAS has also enabled the business to think about further growth in the future.

Mr Martin said: “The past year has been very busy exploring our options to grow the business. The hard work has paid off and we are delighted that by working with the LEP and other partners, we have been able to achieve our business growth plans.

“The Eric Richmond legacy is firmly afoot and we are proud to continue building on the reputation of this company. We are particularly delighted to have exhibited our pies at the Great Yorkshire Pie Competition and to win an award for the best pie was the cherry on top!”

Roger Marsh OBE, Chair of the LEP said: “With the economy growing and now over 119,000 businesses in the Leeds City Region, it is more important than ever to stimulate this momentum and continue to support our ambitious growing SMEs.

“With a range of support available including business finance, skills, export, innovation, sales, marketing leadership and management, we encourage more small and medium sized businesses to contact the LEP and see how we can help you take the next steps in your growth journey.

“I’m delighted we have secured funding for a further two years, ensuring we continue to serve the needs of our SMEs.”

Cllr Peter Box, Leader of Wakefield Council, said: “It’s important to ensure our district is thriving with growing local businesses which will help to strengthen our economy. I encourage more SMEs in the district to take advantage of the support that the Council and the LEP can offer so that more businesses can take up the opportunities available to them.”

A team of 13 SME growth managers based in local areas across the city region provide intensive support to businesses that have an appetite for substantial growth. Information and support is also available through the new LEP website and a dedicated telephone helpline www.the-lep.com/business or 0113 348 1818