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Growing Places Fund INVESTMENT summary

In 2012 the LEP was awarded £15,048,179 Growing Places Funds.

This revolving (capital) loan fund is intended to stimulate economic activity by enabling the delivery of jobs and housing.

Legitimate requests for GPF loans can be categorised as follows:

  • SMEs with high-growth potential are referred to the FSE Group (itself the recipient of a large GPF loan) as the Funding Escalator is designed for these types of applicants
  • Proposals to address infrastructure and site constraints, and promote the delivery of housing are referred to the Growing Places Fund guidance.

The pages that follow provide more detail and examples of how GPF has been used across Thames Valley Berkshire.

Superfast Berkshire

Description

The objectives of the Thames Valley Berkshire Local Broadband Plan are to achieve broadband connectivity in excess of 24 mbps to 90% of the area’s properties, and at least 2 mbps to the remaining 10%.

The Plan responds to the government’s pledge to roll out broadband to the parts of the country not likely to be served by commercial interventions, and co-ordinates the efforts of the six Berkshire unitary authorities and business.

GPF Investment

£1,480,000

Status

Repaid, and further investment of £1.8m arranged for the third phase of the Superfast Berkshire programme.

Bracknell: Prospect Estate Agency

Description

A capital project to restore and refurbish an iconic Grade 2 listed property in Bracknell town centre. The investment has supported growth and the establishment of additional central services in the new office.

GPF Investment

£50,000

Status

Repaid

Carnival Pool Car Park

Description

Forward-funding to accelerate the delivery of a key element of Wokingham town centre’s regeneration. This will support planned growth and realise the associated boost to the local and sub-regional economy by creating 7,912 new jobs.

GPF Investment

£1,500,000

Status

Part-repaid

Bracknell Bus Station

Description

As part of the planning requirements for Bracknell Town Centre regeneration, significant essential upgrade works had to be undertaken to the Southern Gateway, including:

refurbishment of the bus station

improvements of adjacent public realm

creating key pedestrian connections to regenerated town centre

GPF Investment

£1,500,000

Status

Repaid

Slough Aspire

Description

Slough Aspire is a business‐led dedicated skills, training and recruitment project designed to improve the employability of the Slough community - to provide a skilled local workforce for a diverse range of businesses and sectors.

GPF Investment

£128,000

Status

Part-repaid

Maidenhead Waterways

Description

Restoring the Waterways is a key part of the adopted Area Action Plan for Maidenhead. Growing Places funding of £1.6m has enabled the construction of the town centre section of the Waterway, with associated public access and landscaping improvements, and a footbridge. The project will reduce upfront developer costs, acting as a catalyst for the construction of over 250 residential units and 20,000 m2 of commercial space on development sites adjacent to the Waterway.

GPF Investment Status

£1,600,000 Part-repaid

Thames Valley Berkshire Funding Escalator

Description

In early 2013, the LEP took the bold and innovative step of investing £8.3m GPF into a bespoke Funding Escalator; the first LEP in the country to use GPF in this way. The Escalator is managed by the (FCA-regulated) FSE Group, and is non-traditional finance for high-growth potential SMEs. Over £6m has already been approved in business loans and equity, for local start-ups and expanding, next generation businesses.

Case Studies

User Replay is a customer experience analytics solution that enables businesses to discover the truth about their customers’ digital experiences. Following a £300,000 Growth Fund investment in three funding rounds with a total of $9.6m raised, the company now employs 43 staff.

This Reading-based pharma company secured £200,000 to support product development and sales & marketing activities - to enable further expansion into international markets. The company has achieved significant success, with orders from Rolls Royce.

A fitness, health and nutrition business based in Binfield secured a £200,000 Expansion Loan to meet demand for its bespoke training supplements.

This breakfast drinks company based in Maidenhead secured a £200,000 Expansion Loan to extend its network of vendors and support the overall sales, marketing and advertising of the product, helping the Be Fast brand to penetrate the cereal market. The company now has a turnover of £6m + and has recently closed a £1m equity investment deal.

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