New figures reveal that a core element of Nottingham’s strategy for growth is creating an average of 10 new jobs every month.
With less than six months to go for applications to the Nottingham Technology Grant Fund (N’Tech), new figures show the scheme has already created 146 jobs for 40 local businesses, with the potential to create and safeguard a total of 845 jobs and leverage £24.3 million of private sector investment. This comes at a time when UK business confidence is surging.
Launched in April 2013, the N’Tech Fund forms a key part of the Nottingham Growth Plan – a blueprint for the city’s future business growth. So far, 40 businesses across the digital content, life sciences and clean technology sectors have benefitted from the funding and are now investing in cutting-edge technologies, recruiting more staff and developing new products and services.
A total of 17 businesses in the digital content sector have received grants to the value of £2.5 million, in the life sciences sector 10 companies have benefitted from £905,000 worth of funding and in the clean technologies sector grants to the value of £1.1 million have aided the growth of 13 firms.
In the Creative Quarter alone, 15 businesses have benefitted from grants to the value of £1.7 million with seven of these companies based at BioCity. Grants to businesses in the Creative Quarter have the potential to create and safeguard 260 jobs and leverage £7.8 million of private sector investment.
Overall, grants to the value of £4.5 million have been secured with a further 30 applicants requesting £4.8 million worth of funding. Nottingham City Council secured funding from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund for the N’Tech Grant Fund which operates a rolling application process until the end of September 2014.
N’Tech helps fast track the development plans of businesses, with grants of between £20,000 and £1 million, and is geared towards the growing life science, digital content and clean technology sectors. The fund is focused on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) within the Greater Nottingham area.
Cllr Nick McDonald Portfolio Holder for Jobs and Growth commented: “The figures show that the N’Tech Fund is already delivering results. It’s great to see the Fund helping innovative businesses develop and grow. However, we need more businesses to apply. With only 6 months left to claim support, we are urging local companies who could benefit from the same investment to get in touch and apply for their share of the this money.”
Lasershape Limited, a precision engineering company based in Chilwell, received £74,500 from N’Tech in January to support investment in three new machines. Due for installation over the course of 2014, all three machines have already been purchased and installed for use. An ultra-high pressure waterjet cutting machine, a revolutionary ‘Brightline Fibre’ laser cutting machine and a 7 axis CNC bending machine will enable the business to increase productivity as well as significantly reduce energy consumption and waste emissions. The grant has also been used to support the recruitment of four new machine operators.
Lasershape who specialise in laser and waterjet-profiling was one of the UK’s first laser cutting companies and the privately owned firm supplies customers across the country. Today, the business produces components for almost every industry sector, from shop fitting, architectural, telecommunications and medical through to transport, aerospace and defence. Lasershape is also one of the UK’s first engineering companies to install a laser cutting centre with brightline technology and an automated load/unload function, creating additional capacity for the business.
Tim Leam, Director at Lasershape commented: “We initially planned to buy and install the three new machines over the course of the year. However, due to an increase in orders, we have been able to purchase all of them within three months. This is excellent news for the business and will aid further expansion and growth of the Waterjet, laser and folding divisions.”
Retail Assist, based on Friar Lane, is reporting ongoing expansion. The business was awarded £170,000 from the fund last year. They are continuing to recruit analysts for their helpdesk and have now taken another floor at their Friar Lane Hub to accommodate business growth.
Retail Assist provides managed IT services and solutions for the UK’s major retailers. The company also produces software to help retailers efficiently manage their supply chains. Employing over 200 people Retail Assist was established over 14 years ago. The majority of its team are based on Friar Lane and its client list includes major high street names such as Oasis, Selfridges, Coast, Harvey Nichols, Karen Millen and Morrisons.
Dan Smith, Chief Executive Officer – Managed Services at Retail Assist said: “It’s important that we offer excellent customer service to our clients. Thanks to the money from N’Tech, we’ve been able to expand our business and will create 75 jobs overall, which is a great boost to the local economy.”
The Growth Plan, which is a Nottingham City Council and business-led economic strategy, is aimed at developing a highly skilled science and technology based low-carbon economy by 2020. Since its launch in July 2012, the Nottingham Growth Plan – one of the most ambitious strategies of the UK’s ‘Core Cities’ and including the £60 million City Deal – has made over £49 million of finance available to Nottingham businesses.
N’Tech has been devised to support businesses looking for funding for the exploitation of intellectual property, the development of new technologies or investment in capital Infrastructure. It is therefore also ideal for manufacturing businesses.