Council funding scheme nominated for national award

Cllr Jim Harker (right) visits Cheaney's shoe factory in Desborough to see how money from the INV-ENT initiative has helped the company
Cllr Jim Harker (right) visits Cheaney's shoe factory in Desborough to see how money from the INV-ENT initiative has helped the company

A county council initiative to boost business in Northamptonshire has been shortlisted for a national award.

The council’s Innovation and Enterprise Fund – known as INV-ENT – has made it to the finals in the 2013 Local Government Chronicle Awards in the Innovation category.

The scheme, which provides a business rate rebate of up to £20,000 to small and medium-sized businesses which fulfil certain criteria, was shortlisted for its success in its first year.

Cllr Jim Harker, leader of Northamptonshire County Council said: “Our INV-ENT scheme allows us to use a relatively small amount of public investment to make an enormous difference to businesses in the county and we are already starting to see real change.

“Creating the conditions for economic growth and bringing prosperity to Northamptonshire is one of the county council’s chief priorities and I’m delighted that this pioneering initiative has been recognised.

“Earlier this year we were given the status of most enterprising place in Britain, part of which was down to initiatives such as this. We’re determined to keep up the good work and bring growth and jobs for the people of Northamptonshire.”

To date INV-ENT has seen £320,000 invested in 24 businesses with the potential to lever in more than £3.6m of private sector investment and deliver more than 80 new jobs and 40 apprenticeships over the coming two years.

Applications for the third round of funding, which closed last week, are now being reviewed by the county council and delivery partner, Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership. The winners of the LGC Awards will be announced in March 2013.