A fund supporting Tendring businesses could get a £250,000 boost

Josh Kerry, who was taken on by Nantmor Blinds to help run its new machine purchased with support of

Josh Kerry, who was taken on by Nantmor Blinds to help run its new machine purchased with support of the SME Growth Fund. Picture: Will Lodge/TDC - Credit: Archant

A proposal to add £250,000 to Tendring District Council’s SME Growth Fund will go before senior councillors next week.

The fund was expanded by a quarter-of-a-million pounds in April following early success of the scheme in benefiting local firms to expand their work, create and safeguard jobs, and relocate to Tendring.

The scheme was also streamlined to make the application process easier, especially for small or start-up businesses, and widened out to include other sectors.

Since then alone the fund has given out five further grants, creating more than 17 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs and protecting another 16 roles, and allowing firms to move to new locations within Tendring and buy equipment.

Overall, since the scheme’s launch in late 2015, ten applications have been supported with total grants of £400,104 – including £125,000 provided by Essex County Council when the scheme was first launched. This funding has created 37 new FTE jobs and safeguarded 17.5 FTE roles, leveraging £831,852.31 in private sector investment.

Andy Finch, co-founder of Nantmor Blinds, one of the benefactors of a £30,000 grant from TDC, explained that the company had put it towards buying a new machine to make help make vertical blinds. “It’s been absolutely marvellous,” he said. “It’s brought the vertical blind in house - before, we were purchasing what this machine makes from another company. Having it in house has created employment for two new staff and protected existing staff’s jobs too.”

The success of the scheme means all of the money previously allocated to the fund has been issued, and with several other businesses working their way through applications Tendring District Council’s Cabinet is being asked to top-up the pot with another £250,000.

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Zoe Fairley, Tendring District Council Cabinet Member for Growth and Investment, said the figures speak for themselves.

“Having a strong and vibrant Tendring economy benefits everyone – it provides jobs for residents, investment in the area and increased confidence bringing further private investment into the district,” Cllr Fairley said.

“That is why it is so important that we do what we can to support businesses within Tendring. By offering this match-funding it allows firms to grow, take on more staff and protect existing jobs, and overall builds that economy.

“The SME Growth Fund’s success can be seen in the number of firms supported, and the number of jobs created and protected, and it makes sense to continue that good work – which is why I will be recommending this to-up to my Cabinet colleagues.”

Cabinet will discuss the report at its meeting next Friday.