The Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership has pumped £7.25m of capital into a new Escalator Fund. SME’s in the region will be awarded finance to grow their businesses as a part of the government strategy to empower the LEP’s after a recent review by Lord Heseltine into the UK’s economy. The investment will focus on infrastructure, employment and skills with the aim of creating a strong foundation for the next generation of businesses.

The Escalator Fund was set up to awards loans to funds run by the LEP in commercialisation, expansion and equity. £1.75m will be allocated to the Thames Valley Berkshire Commercialisation Fund to offer support to fledgling companies that want to create a strong market foothold. The TVB Expansion Fund will receive £4m to stimulate growth, while the Equity Fund has been allocated £1.5m to help growing businesses with cash injections which the LEP hopes will be matched by private investors.

TVB LEP has already used £10.28m of its £15m allocation from the Growing Places Fund in a range of different projects across the region, including the “Superfast Berkshire” broadband scheme, the regeneration of Bracknell Town Centre and revenue support for the Western Rail Access to Heathrow scheme.

Chairman of the LEP said “The Escalator Fund is our response to the feedback from businesses across Thames Valley Berkshire during many months of consultation across the sub region”.

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