KCC’s Regional Growth Fund has already supported some 242 companies in the county with £55m of loans that have created more than 2,212 jobs Small and medium businesses across the county are set to benefit after Kent County Council announced a further £5m of loans to boost economic growth and job creation. KCC’s Regional Growth Fund has already supported some 242 companies in the county with £55m of loans that have created more than 2,212 jobs, safeguarded a further 1,663 and has been matched by £87.3m of private sector investment. Now the Kent and Medway Business Fund is offering a further £5m of interest-free loans between £50,000 and £500,000 to small and medium businesses, to increase their growth, productivity and job creation.
This additional round of funding comes through the start of repayment loans lent through earlier RGF schemes, including Expansion East Kent, TIGER and Escalate. KCC leader Paul Carter said: “The Kent and Medway Business Fund is a fantastic opportunity for businesses to get investment and grow with confidence. “Kent offers some of the most exciting economic growth prospects in the south east. “The county is an attractive place for business and I’m delighted that Kent County Council can continue to help and support local businesses grow stronger and more prosperous.”
A recent independent audit report praised KCC for demonstrating strong and improving relative performance in creating and safeguarding local jobs and for being ‘unique’ in its decision to award grant money as interest free, recyclable loans. Some of the success stories include Q’Straint, an east Kent company that was able to secure 28 jobs and create an additional 16 jobs. The funding was for a specialised research and development facility for the next generation of wheelchair passenger safety. James Broadley, the company’s commercial manager and financial controller said: “We were looking for funding in order to invest in a new state of the art R&D facility in Whitstable. “Our iQ Research Centre has now been successfully operating for two years contributing to the development of several new products. “The loan received from KCC enabled us to make the investment quickly, without the cash injection it would have taken longer to get up and running.”
Kent and Medway Business Fund loans can be used to develop new or expand existing products, services, or processes in businesses that would otherwise struggle to find funding from banks. This latest scheme is designed to encourage enterprise, growth and jobs in the private sector and support areas and communities across Kent and Medway. Businesses applying for funding must show that these will lead to new jobs, deliver business growth and improve productivity. The scheme is being launched at Westenhanger Castle, a scheduled ancient monument dating back to Norman times, and a previous recipient of a KCC business loan of £25,000, on Thursday.