SOUTH-EAST-LEPOne of the UK’s biggest EU funding programmes was launched today by the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SE LEP) to boost business growth and jobs across East Sussex, Essex, Kent, Medway, Southend and Thurrock.

Today’s launch is the result of two years painstaking research and development across the area which now sees SE LEP leading the country in getting this funding out as quickly as possible to local business.

In the biggest programmes of its kind for the South East, the £180m EU funding will unfold across the SE LEP area over the next six years to business, universities, councils and social enterprises all of which are now eligible to apply for funding. Its use can include support for business competitiveness and innovation, new low carbon opportunities and rural enterprise.

Further calls for projects later this year will support higher level skills to meet the needs of local high-tech industry and a helping hand towards a job for those furthest from the labour market.

Launching the funding programme, Chairman of the SE LEP EU Committee George Kieffer called on companies across the South East to bid for the funding: “I am delighted that from today, new EU funding is available across East Sussex, Essex, Kent, Medway, Southend and Thurrock for new business growth and jobs.

“It’s a huge achievement and the result of co-ordinated work between the LEP, the Government, the private and public sectors.

“I would urge every organisation looking to create jobs to look at the SE LEP website to day and consider making a bid.”

In the first stage of the £180m programme, a tranche of some £17m funding is made available today to business including:

£3m for research and innovation

  • £6m for enhancing the competitiveness of SMEs
  • £3m for low carbon projects
  • £1m for small and micro businesses in rural areas
  • Confirming its position as a leading LEP nationally, SE LEP is one of only five LEPs across the country launching its programme to support rural enterprise with a initial focus on agritech and diversification to strengthen and grow the LEP’s critical rural sector. To achieve this, the LEP has enjoyed the close support of officials at DEFRA.

SE LEP Chairman Peter Jones added: “This is a major milestone in SE LEP’s support for jobs, productivity and skills in our drive to make the South East the country’s most enterprising economy.”

Further funding calls will be launched as programmes are agreed with the Managing Authorities for the programmes – the Dept for Work & Pensions and the Dept for Communities and Local Government.

Information relating to all EU programme opportunities offered through this funding can be found on the SE LEP website

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