BUSINESSES across North Yorkshire have benefitted from grants totalling more than £20 million following Local Enterprise Partnership funding allocations.

The Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, one of two LEPs covering York and North Yorkshire, is expecting to have paid a part in creating almost 3,000 jobs in the region after committing £21.2 million of its £25.7 million funding programme.

The partnership's Local Growth Deal has supported 305 business, using government funding to support expansion and investment in new equipment as well as creating jobs, with 78 per cent of grants allocated going towards businesses in the manufacturing sector.

York businesses Andrew Signs and Engravers in Stockton on the Forst, and Yorvale Ice Cream near Acaster Malbis have both received investment to support growth, as has Lambert Engineering in Selby, which recently opened a new Innovation Centre.

Funding from the programme has also supported Harrogate Water Brands in opening its new £6 million bottling line.

The business, which is the parent company of Harrogate Springwater, had raised almost all the capital required for the new installation, but was left with a funding gap.

Steve Burnett, Harrogate Water Brands’ financial director was aware of the support the LEP was offering businesses, and secured a £430,000 grant, which immediately helped to create six new jobs, with the figure projected to rise to 28 new positions in production, sales, marketing and accounts, almost doubling the workforce.

Mr Burnett said: "The LEP is really demonstrating its support for businesses in the region.

"For a business like us which is growing rapidly, it’s the right kind of funding that can help us reach the next stage in our expansion plans. The LEP were there when we needed them. They were approachable and supportive."

Through the LEP’s Local Growth Deal with government, the Business Growth Programme, which was originally launched in February 2012, has been extended for another three years from April 2015 with a further £18 million secured.

To qualify, firms need to demonstrate they will create jobs, have private financial backing and will support key growth sectors.

Companies can bid for grants between £10,000 and £500,000 depending on how many new jobs their investment will create.