BUSINESSES URGED TO APPLY FOR FUNDING / CROYDON TO OPEN WORLD-LEADING TECH INCUBATOR / FUNDING TO HELP SOCIAL ENTERPRISES GROW / £1 MILLION CONSTRUCTION CENTRE FOR SOUTHWARK
BUSINESSES URGED TO APPLY FOR FUNDING
BUSINESSES across the borough of Croydon are being encouraged to apply for funding from the Croydon Enterprise Loan Fund.
The fund – currently standing at just over £1.25 million – is set to grow to around £4 million.
The increase comes as Croydon announce plans to revitalise district centres with multimillion-pound investment being earmarked for South Norwood (£1.5m) and Thornton Heath (£2.7m).
The council will help small businesses continue to grow, with cabinet being asked tonight (Monday) to increase the Croydon Enterprise Loan Fund, which provides funding to SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) unable to access finance, to £4m.
Other ways the council will support small business growth include improving the digital infrastructure of the borough by increasing superfast broadband provision, which will help Croydon’s burgeoning tech industry (1,560 technology and media businesses) continue to develop, as well as bringing empty offices back into use. (Source: Croydon council press release.)
CROYDON TO OPEN WORLD-LEADING TECH INCUBATOR
A NEW tech business incubator and start-up space is to be launched in the heart of Croydon.
The project has £2m backing from the council and the Greater London Authority for a new industry-leading 21,000 sq ft tech space in Davis House, an office building located at the centre of Croydon’s digital cluster.
Due to launch in early 2016, the space will provide flexible office and working areas, and offer training, courses and events, alongside investor and demo days at which budding businesses can meet potential investors, industrial partners and growth specialists.
It will also house Digital Art Central, the UK’s first digital art and media specialist hub, providing the leading digital artists and art entrepreneurs the same high-level facilities and business-building tools usually reserved for tech entrepreneurs.
The application process for start-ups to join the tech hub is scheduled to open in November 2015.
The new hub will provide a combination of services for business accepted to the programme, from co-working facilities to private office suites, as businesses progress and grow. (Source: Croydon council press release.)
FUNDING TO HELP SOCIAL ENTERPRISES GROW
Social enterprises locally are set to benefit from cash that has become available since Croydon became the first London borough to win social enterprise place status.
The accolade was bestowed in recognition of the number of businesses in the borough that are run for the benefit of the community. And now those enterprises are being invited to apply for funding that will enable their business to grow.
The council has teamed up with SE-Assist, which offers a pioneering approach to social investment, bringing together large businesses and social enterprises.
SE-Assist is especially keen to help social enterprises struggling to access capital and support from elsewhere.
Successful social enterprises will receive a support package that includes:
• an interest-free loan of between £10,000 and £30,000;
• a dedicated business mentor; and
• access to a bank of experts.
Social enterprises keen to take advantage of this offer must meet specific criteria to be eligible – visit www.se-assist.co.uk for details.
Croydon’s cabinet member for economy and jobs Cllr Toni Letts said: “Croydon is home to more than 120 registered social enterprise businesses with many more operating in the wider voluntary sector.
“These funding packages are designed to help our borough’s social enterprises grow, which is why we’ve teamed up with SE-Assist.
“As a borough with social enterprise status, we’re passionate about supporting businesses that benefit our communities.”
For more information please visit www.se-assist.co.uk, email [email protected] or call 020 8726 7383. (Source: Croydon council press release.)
£1 MILLION CONSTRUCTION CENTRE FOR SOUTHWARK
Southwark council are paving the way to create a borough of builders ready to work on a range of construction sites all over London, the country and even the world.
With over £10.7bn worth of construction work planned or currently being undertaken in the tri-borough area in the next three years, Southwark are teaming up with Lewisham and Lambeth councils to create an innovative new centre that will train hundreds of local people to take advantage of the jobs being created on their doorstep.
The £1m Southwark construction centre will complement centres in Lewisham and Lambeth that will focus on related skills.
Developers Lend Lease have also agreed to house the centre on site at Elephant Park, which means classrooms will be based at the heart of the borough on one of the country’s largest regeneration sites at the Elephant and Castle (subject to planning permission).
Cllr Peter John, Leader of Southwark Council, said: “With our own commitment to building 11,000 new council homes as well as the regeneration schemes on Elephant and Castle, Canada Water and Aylesbury, we are seeing a significant level of construction work available in the borough.
“This is even higher when we look over our borders to neighbouring boroughs with projects like Vauxhall/Nine Elms.
“Between us, the three boroughs have more construction work happening over the next few years than the Olympics or Crossrail, and we need to make sure our residents have the best opportunities to make the most of the benefits this work brings, especially job creation.
“The construction skills centre will be central to that providing the right training and employment support to pretty much guarantee work in this blossoming industry.
“The centre is also part of our aim for a better further education offer in Southwark tying together the practical skills we need in our borough, with an employer led approach and building better general employability skills.”
As well as providing invaluable training for residents over the age of 18, the centre will be a base for employment support specialists from Southwark Works and other agencies, and schools will be able to bring classes on site to talk about the importance of construction and the doors it can open to working on projects around the world.
In addition to the new modular centre, an outdoor area for construction and plant training is being provided from the end of 2015 until 2018 for specialist training courses.
Sir Steve Bullock, Mayor of Lewisham, said: “I welcome the progress being made on the Elephant and Castle site – it will become an important part of improving construction skills in south London. Construction in Lewisham, Southwark and Lambeth, is creating opportunities for our residents, and by working with other boroughs and training providers we believe we can support our people into those jobs.”
Southwark Council are now looking for a learning partner to deliver the training on site and expecting to make what they call an “exciting” announcement on this very soon.