Northamptonshire’s high-tech firms are to benefit from a new £1.2m fund.
Business Secretary Vince Cable joined Northamptonshire’s Local Enterprise Partnership (NEP) to announce the launch of the fund to develop the county’s High Performance Technologies (HPT) sector.
Dr Cable said: “Northamptonshire’s HPT hub has real potential for growth so I’m delighted to be launching this fund.
“The Government is trying to decentralise decision-making on matters affecting local economic development.
“The Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership, with its local expertise and knowledge, is particularly well placed to fund sustainable projects.”
Dr Cable launched the fund at The Northamptonshire Engineering Symposium, an integral part of Northamptonshire Science and Engineering Week, at The University of Northampton this week.
Held in partnership with the university, the week is designed to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers through schemes like apprenticeships, and promote the innovative engineering industry in the county.
The Northamptonshire HPT Investment Programme is now open for expressions of interest from relevant companies with the aim of supporting growth in the £2bn sector in Northamptonshire.
Run by Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership, it is financed through the Government’s £2.6bn Regional Growth Fund.
Northamptonshire is home to more than 1,000 businesses in HPT, a sector which has developed from the county’s strong history and links to motorsport.
The subsequent diversification of the sector has grown to incorporate a wide range of HPT companies operating in sectors such as defence, aerospace, marine, construction and renewables and is estimated to be worth over £2bn to the local economy and includes design and manufacture of innovative technologies, engines and products.
The industry, of which 80 per cent are SMEs, has been identified as a key sector for future potential business and employment growth. The £1.2million fund secured by NEP will further boost HPT in the county, directly supporting new and expanding companies, enabling the industry to generate 300 new jobs and leverage a minimum of £3.6m of private sector investment.
Tim Bagshaw, head of investment at Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership, said: “HPT is an incredibly important industry to the Northamptonshire economy, and with such a large proportion of the industry being smaller businesses, it has powerful potential to grow. Having worked closely with the sector for a number of years here at NEP, we have identified that access to finance is a major restraint to growth so we’re delighted to launch such a considerable fund to help address this issue. We have secured this funding to directly address these problems and help businesses in the county create and safeguard jobs and to continue to grow and innovate.”