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We invested £2m to create a business boom in Northamptonshire

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Northamptonshire CC is unique when it comes to delivering economic growth. 

  • Project: Driving economic growth
  • Objectives: To make Northamptonshire the best place in Britain to start, finance and grow a business, develop a more balanced economy and create a more highly-skilled workforce
  • Timescale: 2011-14
  • Cost to authority: £2m
  • Number of staff working on project: 2 full-time equivalent
  • Outcomes: In 2013/14: 1,198 Jobs created/safeguarded; 69 business start-ups; 31 new companies attracted to the county; 788 businesses supported; over £43m private sector leverage
  • Officer contact details: sellwood@northamptonshire.gov.uk

It works closely with a range of partners, including the local enterprise partnership, district and borough councils, the Federation of Small Businesses, the Institute of Directors and the university to drive economic growth. Together we have developed a strong and effective partnership, delivering an innovative package of initiatives which have a direct, positive impact on our economy.

Located at the heart of the country and with a young and fast-growing population, our economy is dominated by small and medium enterprises (SMEs). However, we needed a pro-active, targeted approach to drive further economic growth and benefit all sections of our community. The prosperity programme provided the framework for this.

‘Business as usual’ was not an option. Northamptonshire CC has taken the driving seat, stimulating the local economy and reducing the impact of recession. We developed a package of investment and activities to address local needs without government grants.

How it works

Our innovation and enterprise fund offers a targeted grant of up to £20,000 to ambitious SMEs, enabling investment in growth and job creation. In 2013-14 we invested over £435,000 in 30 local businesses. This leveraged £7m in private investment, created 173 new jobs, 37 apprenticeship opportunities, and supported 440 employees with skills development.

Locate, our high-profile and unique inward investment initiative, offered financial incentives of up to £20,000 to successful SMEs operating outside of Northamptonshire to relocate or expand by moving to the county. Launched in July 2013, we have invested £100,000 in five businesses, with the potential to lever in £2.45m of other investment, create 315 jobs and 41 new apprenticeships and support 173 employees with their skills development.

Our superfast business programme is designed to encourage and support local businesses to use digital technology to sustain and grow their business. The first part of this initiative involved a series of promotional films featuring a range of ambitious local businesses, which has received national attention. The council also provided financial support to create a digital youth academy at Tresham College, which has seen 42 new social media apprenticeships created in 2013-14, helping to strengthen the digital capacity and capability of our SMEs.

Our enterprise hubs are an award winning initiative between Northamptonshire Libraries and Information Service and Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership (NEP).  The hubs provide local entrepreneurs with coaching, advice and access to facilities. Workshops and one-to-one advice on legal and tax issues, marketing and financial control also supported customers who might not otherwise have considered self-employment or entrepreneurship.  In 2013-14 it supported 378 people and created 51 new businesses.

We also launched the growth hub in 2013; a partnership between the University of Northampton, the council and the NEP, providing all our businesses with a single point of contact to access business support. Delivered without funding from government, it supported more than 500 local businesses in the first year. 

Overall, the programme achieved:  1,198 new jobs, 69 new business start-ups, 31 new companies locating in the county. It also supported 788 businesses leveraged more than £43m private sector investment leveraged in 2013-14.

Tony Ciaburro, director - environment, development and transport, Northamptonshire CC

 

 

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