5 December 2013 14:18

Lancaster University is taking a unique leading role in a £32 million Government programme to boost economic growth in cities across the country.

Drawing on its world-class Management School’s expertise in supporting SMEs, and its outstanding reputation in the delivery of complex funding programmes, the North West England-based university will be working in partnership with Government departments and Cabinet Office Cities Policy Unit on an exciting programme of support to more than 16 cities across the UK.

Supported by the Government’s Regional Growth Fund the programme, confirmed this week by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, is designed to help cities to support local businesses and to provide co-ordinated access to national and local business support packages.

Cities that will receive funding from the programme include: Coventry, Bournemouth, Brighton and Hove, Reading, Hull and Stoke.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: “Small businesses are working hard to fuel our recovery and help us build a stronger economy.

“I am determined that we do all we can to help companies that have struggled to get the investment they need. Investment that means they can employ those extra people, take on that new order, and buy new equipment.

“Cities across England are being given a share of £32 million to help smaller companies to grow and create more jobs.”

Lancaster University, which was named as a top-ten university for SME engagement in the recent Witty Review, successfully bid to run this Regional Growth Fund programme due to the Management School’s long-standing reputation for innovative support to business, and also because of the university’s experience and expertise in successfully managing European Funding programmes across the UK.

Dr Ellie Hamilton, Associate Dean and founder of the University’s Institute for Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development, will lead the Programme.

“We have demonstrated our credentials over a number of years and through different programmes, which have had outstanding impact for business. We draw on our research understanding to help not only businesses, but also those that support business to implement what we know works.

“Our knowledge-exchange experts will be drawing on our extensive experience to provide independent external advice and guidance, which is deep-rooted in research, to ensure the proposals supported by the Regional Growth Fund have the best chance of providing true economic benefits for all of the cities.

“Lancaster’s involvement in the Regional Growth Fund for City Deals is a strong endorsement of our approach and expertise in supporting business and Local Enterprise Partnerships in producing demonstrable economic growth.”

The University intends to set up a peer-networking programme for cities devised by Lancaster University Management School academics from its Institute for Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development.

The peer-networking programme will enable cities to be able to share experiences and problems with others in similar positions, and also enable them to take a step back from their day to day operations to be able to dedicate time to thinking strategically.

Greg Clark, Minister for Cities, said: "Small businesses are the lifeblood of the UK's local economies, and the Government in Westminster can never be a substitute for local knowledge and support. Lancaster University's expertise in helping small businesses combined with the local knowledge of councils and Local Enterprise Partnerships adds up to a boost to local growth in our cities. I'm pleased the Government has been able to fund this innovative new approach through the Regional Growth Fund."

City Fund allocations:

The Black Country £3,095,679

Bournemouth £1,263,909

Brighton and Hove £1,794,009

Coventry and Warwickshire £2,696,095

Hull and Humber £2,518,809

Ipswich and Norwich £3,928,971

Milton Keynes £1,031,111

Oxford and Central Oxfordshire £1,991,609

Reading £1,231,809

Plymouth £1,801,039

Southampton and Portsmouth £2,471,609

Southend £1,811,609

Stoke and Staffordshire £1,116,131

Swindon and Wiltshire £1,000,000

Tees Valley £2,397,609

For more information about City Deals visit https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/giving-more-power-back-to-cities-through-city-deals/supporting-pages/city-deals-wave-2