Business Growth Grants for South Lanarkshire enterprises have been increased by £30,000.
Councillors at the full council meeting on Wednesday (November 7), approved plans to increase the maximum level of grant that can be awarded through the South Lanarkshire Business Growth Grant from £20,000 to £50,000.
The council’s economic development team currently offers local businesses access to financial support through the business growth grant to improve long-term sustainability and growth. This is a discretionary business grant offering 50 per cent support for eligible project costs.
Councillors welcomed the plans to increase the grant as it would have a positive impact on the local economy.
Councillor John Anderson (East Kilbride Central South), said: “It’s a bit common here for councillors to welcome reports, I’d like to deviate away from that and say I’m sure the business community would welcome this report.
“I’d say it’s much needed for them given the current conditions they are trading in including high inflation, food costs and also the fuel costs, particularly for small business, so I’d welcome this report on behalf of the small business community.”
Councillor Alex Allison (Clydesdale East), praised the report but asked for extra support to be added to help start-up businesses.
He said: “There’s much good in this for being able to support businesses through a particularly difficult time, the increase in the level of award I think is certainly needed as well as the broadening of the scope of the grants.
“I wonder if there’s another area we should be focussing on as well, which is the survivability of new start-ups. It’s something that we don’t do to the best standard here with in South Lanarkshire, we have a higher number of businesses failing early on and I think that giving them extra support so they can get through the first difficult years of their business, so I think that’s something that should be added into this report.”
Council officers said that supporting survivability can be something that is considered in the plans.
Councillor Robert Brown (Rutherglen South), also welcomed the increase in the grants. He said: “I’d like to join my voice in support of the recommendations, I’ve had the opportunity since I took up the post of chair of the Community and Enterprise Committee to go round the local businesses to see the good work done by the council and the surrounding efforts made by the department to try to support local businesses.
“Local supply chains is something that is very important in terms of growth of the economy and sustainable growth in terms of local supply chains. I think the way the business growth grants have been used have been very effective and I think the extra flexibility given by this will be very important.”
The Business Growth Grant is funded 60 per cent by South Lanarkshire Council and it is matched to provide a further 40 per cent through the European Regional Development Funding (ERDF).
The ERDF programme has been running in partnership with North Lanarkshire Council as the lead authority since 2015/16 and is providing a total grant programme of £2.8 million for South Lanarkshire over this period, including £1.1 million in ERDF funding for the council.
Raising the maximum grant threshold will give the council flexibility to help longer growth investments and projects of scale, resulting in increased impacts and outcomes and potentially an increased return on the council’s investment.
Since April this year, the fund has approved 28 grant applications, totalling £417,721 in grant funding.
*Don't miss the latest headlines from around Lanarkshire. Sign up to our newsletters here.
And did you know Lanarkshire Live is on Facebook? Head on over and give us a like and share!