Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen has delivered on a key manifesto pledge to launch a new business growth programme. The new £35 million investment will help businesses across the Tees Valley and includes the largest investment fund of its kind in the region.
It includes a £20 million Tees Valley Business Fund which has been specifically designed to support businesses with grants and repayable finance to help local businesses secure crucial investment to help grow their business and create local jobs.
On top of this it will fund Tees Valley Business, an enhanced service which will make it easier for local companies to access the support they need to grow and create jobs.
It also builds on support currently available to local businesses through Tees Valley Business Compass, regardless of sector or industry. Since 2017 Business Compass has advised and signposted 1,400 businesses with 535 of these accessing a £7 million pot.
Mayor Houchen made the announcement while speaking at the VentureFest conference at the Riverside Stadium.
The new fund will go before the Tees Valley Combined Authority Cabinet in October for agreement and will become operational in January 2020.
Mayor Houchen said: “Small and medium sized businesses are the lifeblood of our economy; they account for more than 99% of all businesses in the Tees Valley and support tens of thousands of jobs.
“I speak with great Tees Valley businesses every day and I’m blown away by the entrepreneurialism, the innovation and great ideas we have in our area. We’ve done a good job of supporting businesses through Business Compass, now I want to take things to a whole new level with our new Mayoral Business Investment Fund.
“Business need to be able to crack-on and do what they’re good at. The new fund will be as quick, easy and responsive to use as possible. It will be user-friendly and will be the one stop shop for business support we’ve been aiming for over the last two years. This will allow us to get more money to more businesses as quickly as possible so that they can invest, grow and create the good quality well-paid jobs the people of the Tees Valley deserve.
“When I was elected in 2017, I promised to be a pro-business mayor, to support our entrepreneurs and risk-takers and to setup an easy to access fund to support our businesses. A promise now delivered.”
Simon Green, CEO of ed/ge who organise VentureFest Tees Valley said “It was great to have Ben address our audience here at VentureFest Tees Valley and deliver the fantastic news for the region that we’re to expect a new £30m investment fund in the new year. The announcement is positive news for local businesses, which will provide the support they need to grow.”