Projects that will promote economic growth and create jobs across the Marches are being invited to bid for a share of more than £16 million of European funding.
Applications have opened for projects that focus on research and innovation, creating low carbon economies and improving the competitiveness of small and medium enterprises.
The three themes have been identified as priorities for funding in the Marches European Structural and Investment Strategy, which was developed by the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership following consultation with stakeholders, partners, the business community and the voluntary and charitable sector.
The LEP is the private sector-led organisation working with the local councils in Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin, to help grow prosperity and create jobs.
The region has been allocated a total of around £105m of European money for projects being delivered between 2014 and 2020.
This round of applications to the European Regional Development Fund is offering £6.2 million for projects across the Marches that will support the development of a low carbon economy; £2 million for initiatives in Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin and £1.3 million for those in Herefordshire that support access to support business research and innovation; and £7 million for activities that will boost the competitiveness of SMEs in Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin.
Councillor Roger Phillips, Chairman of the Marches ESIF Committee, said: “The Government has confirmed that it will guarantee EU funding for structural and investment fund projects signed before the UK’s departure from the EU, even when these projects continue after we have left the EU, so I would encourage businesses and organisations to tap into the wealth of opportunities on offer.
“Creating a strong and sustainable economy is our main focus for the Marches and these three funding streams will target some key priorities that have been identified to create the framework that will make that happen.”
The application criteria are set out in the call templates available on the Government portal at https://www.gov.uk/european-structural-investment-funds. There is an online application system.
ERDF can provide up to a maximum of 60 per cent of a project’s funding in Shropshire and Telford and 50 per cent of a project’s funding in Herefordshire.