AMBITIOUS businesses in York facing the challenges of Covid-19 and Brexit are set to benefit from a £2m boost.

The Strategic Growth Programme is offering support to small firms in the Leeds City Region, which includes York, Selby and Harrogate, that have been trading for more than three years.

A digital assessment tool will measure the maturity of the business and its potential for expansion to help create an action plan that addresses barriers and opportunities.

Local growth managers will then offer assistance and broker introductions to other business support, including capital grants.

Help with sales and marketing, productivity, upskilling, digital technologies and international trade can also be supported through one-to-one coaching.

The initiative is being delivered on behalf of Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, by Oxford Innovation Services whose director Martin Coats said: “All the media attention is on how big businesses are coping in the wake of Covid-19.

"It’s our job to look at how the smaller businesses (up to 250 employees) in York are doing and how they are utilising the support available to them, giving them access to expertise and funding to grow.

"Our aim is to support more than 500 companies over a two-year period to develop their growth opportunities.”

He added: “Helping small to medium-sized firms isn’t easy and you need a tailored approach, delivered by experts who know what it is like working with these challenges.

“Our Growth managers have a long history of supporting SMEs meaning we understand them and the support required to drive local economic growth.

“The Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), local Growth Hubs and the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government have seen first-hand the value we add to firms through the Manufacturing Growth Programme and this has resulted in a further £2m commitment to support businesses until December 2022.”

The programme, part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund, received £500,000 from the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

LEP chair Roger Marsh said: “I’d encourage all businesses to get in touch to find out how they can improve performance and identify opportunities to grow and contribute to an inclusive, resilient economic recovery.”

The Strategic Growth Programme is also open to SMEs in Bradford, Craven, Harrogate, Kirklees, Leeds, Selby and Wakefield.

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