Economic boost achieved in first 100 days of Growth Works

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Our new, one stop shop service to support high growth businesses in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough is already ahead of schedule in key areas in its first 100 days of operation.

Growth Works aims to create at least 5,200 jobs, an extra 1,400 new apprenticeships, 1,700 learning opportunities for people, and generate significant inward investment in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough over the next three years. Set up by the Combined Authority, it launched publicly on May 27, but a soft launch began on February 15 to deliver an opening phase of services.

“This service is for the whole of the region, not just areas of already high growth. It can help us to support new and expanding businesses and new skills and opportunities for people right across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.”

DR NIK JOHNSON, MAYOR OF CAMBRIDGESHIRE & PETERBOROUGH

It has set out achievements for those first 100 days, highlights supporting high growth SMEs (small and medium sized businesses) include:

  • 331 jobs created – more than half the Year 1 target.
  • Growth in the economy (Gross Value Added) of £4.05m – already beating the Year 1 target.
  • 91 companies given a full growth support analysis – called a growth diagnostic, and 31 companies have been given growth coaching. Every business which completed the diagnostic has been offered free business coaching, growth support and strategic advice.
  • 23 learning outcomes for individuals from local businesses
  • Over £600k of apprenticeship levy transferred to local SMEs for upskilling their workforce.
  • 7 inward investors committing to either investing in the region or expanding on existing commitments.
  • 18 inward investors receiving support, information, brokerage and detailed diagnostics.
  • Launched the Life Sciences Global Accelerator Programme attracting global innovators to Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority.
  • 32 companies were awarded grants of over £2m to support their growth ambitions across the region.

Growth Works continues to work to deliver on its overall targets and immediate next steps include the launch of:

  • £3m in European Regional Development Fund funded “nudge grants” to provide high growth SMEs matched funding for growth coaching and strategic advice from a panel of experts.
  • Growth Equity Fund of £5.5m to be invested in high growth and innovative businesses where access to finance is restricting their growth.
  • Talent Development Maturity Index supporting employers to develop their offer in the development of their people.

Mayor of Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Dr Nik Johnson said:

“It is good to see a positive start from this comprehensive service to support jobs, learners, entrepreneurs, businesses and the acceleration of inward investment into the region.

“This service is for the whole of the region, not just areas of already high growth. It can help us to support new and expanding businesses and new skills and opportunities for people right across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. We want to be the most inclusive region in the UK for people to start and grow a business or to find the skills they need to boost their career. And we want to be the most accessible, outward looking local economy to inward investment nationally and globally.

“The effects of Covid-19 continue to have a significant impact on our economy, so the role of Growth Works has been, and will continue to be, crucial in helping businesses and people rebound with renewed vigour.”

The suite of services offered by Growth Works are:

  • A Growth Coaching Service supporting entrepreneurs and business leaders to rebound and grow amid the impacts of COVID-19.
  • An Inward Investment Service to encourage firms to locate here or invest in our firms and projects – like a new university for Peterborough or improvements to our towns and cities.
  • A Skills Brokerage Service linking learners and those wanting to retrain to employers which have vacancies.
  • A Capital Growth Investment Fund to offer grants, loans and equity investment for small firms needing finance to grow and struggling to find support from banks and elsewhere.
  • The Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Growth Hub delivering a one-stop shop for business. support including funding, training and general expertise.
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