New fund launched to boost productivity of small firms
A new competitive fund has been announced from the UK Futures Programme, run by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills. ‘Anchor’ institutions can bid for a share of £1.5 million to support their local economies. Closing date is 30 April 2015.
Small businesses are to receive a productivity boost, thanks to a new fund from the government’s skills experts, the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES). The competitive fund, part of the UK Futures Programme, run by UKCES, aims to develop ways to address the productivity gap by developing better leadership and entrepreneurial skills amongst small businesses.
UK productivity levels are nearly 20 per cent lower than the average for other advanced economies, according to the latest figures, meaning that the UK has the lowest level of labour productivity in all of the G7, with the exception of Japan. This is affecting UK competitiveness, earnings and potential to generate higher economic growth.
UKCES is looking for bids from ‘anchor’ institutions in specific UK regions where productivity outputs are below average. An anchor institution is one that has a strong local presence and makes a strategic contribution to the local economy. This could include, for example, universities, local enterprise networks (LEPs), colleges, chambers of commerce, banks and major employers.
The co-investment fund is looking for proposals that demonstrate innovative ways anchor institutions can support small firms develop leadership and entrepreneurship skills. The UK Futures Programme is centred on trialling new techniques and projects that address long-standing skills issues. Each project will run for a maximum of 12 months, starting in August 2015.
Proposals must be joint investments, with organisations investing in cash, in-kind, or both, alongside a maximum government contribution of £200,000 per project. The total fund available is £1.5 million.
The UK Futures Programme competition is accepting bids from organisations in the following nations and areas:
- Northern Ireland
- North West England
- North East England
- Yorkshire & Humberside
- South West England