A new £2.1million capital fund – created to support Oxfordshire’s business community to move into an effective renewal phase following the COVID-19 pandemic – has this week (2 March) been launched by the county’s Local Enterprise Partnership.
The Business Investment Fund is the latest initiative to be launched by the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (OxLEP), recognising its commitment to supporting the Oxfordshire business community at this critical economic time.
The fund aims to support scalable businesses from across the county through matched grants, ranging from £25,000 through to £100,000 per business.
Through funding, eligible Oxfordshire businesses will be expected to deliver outcomes for the county’s economy through several key areas, including; the acceleration of investment plans, rebuilding operations and developing market opportunities, harnessing opportunities for technology adoption and innovation, plus supporting a business’ transition to a net-zero future.
The scheme – which is being administered by the OxLEP Business team – is funded by the Government’s Getting Building Fund, which aims to accelerate economic recovery following the Coronavirus outbreak.
Eligible businesses must have been trading in Oxfordshire for at least two full financial years, with cash from the fund required to be matched at a minimum of 50% of any total project value.
Following an online launch event on 2 March, information on the Business Investment Fund is now available on the OxLEP Business website.
WATCH AGAIN: Business Investment Fund launch event, hosted by Howard Bentham (2 March)
The first stage of the application process will see businesses complete an Expression of Interest (EOI) form, which will be available on the OxLEP Business website from 1pm on 5 March. All EOIs for the fund must be received by OxLEP Business by 5pm on 19 March.
Since its inception in 2011, OxLEP – with its partners – has secured over £660m-worth of government funding for Oxfordshire, which has seen more than 48,000 new jobs created in the county to-date.
In total, OxLEP currently oversees a £2.2bn growth programme for the county.
Nigel Tipple – Chief Executive of OxLEP – said: “The launch of the Business Investment Fund is significant news for our business community and a welcome further line of support for eligible businesses at a critical time.
“As the Local Enterprise Partnership for Oxfordshire, we will continue to play a vitally important role for the county moving forward, securing investment that enables new opportunities that will benefit the county’s businesses for many years to come.
“We remain determined to play a key role in ensuring that the county’s businesses are able to run as efficiently as possible and remain productive both during the pandemic and beyond – this fund will further support this ambition.
“Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have introduced a number of new and effective programmes and funds, created to provide critical support. Our provision has allowed many amongst our business community to become more agile and flexible whilst also encouraging greater levels of business diversification in-light of coronavirus.”
The Business Investment Fund is one of several projects supported by the Government’s Getting Building Fund.
Working alongside private and public sector partners from across the county, OxLEP secured a total of £8.4million-worth of investment for Oxfordshire, giving businesses and communities an all-important boost following the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Getting Building Fund investment will also support a number of emerging clean energy projects in the county, creating hundreds of new jobs in the process. Getting Building Fund projects also recognise the possible ‘changing face’ of work patterns in Oxfordshire, supporting businesses to be more agile in-light of COVID-19.
Collectively, Oxfordshire-focused schemes are set to lead to the creation of 472 new jobs – as well as an additional 43 construction-focused roles – with the Getting Building Fund also ready to safeguard a further 324 jobs.