Central Bedfordshire Council news and press releases

Local economy to get £2 million boost from business support

Thursday, 23 November 2023

Hundreds of Central Bedfordshire businesses are set to benefit from £2 million worth of free, specialist advice on start-up and growth, innovation, developing trade and export, and decarbonisation.

We've secured funding from the the government’s UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) and Rural England Prosperity Fund (REPF) to deliver business support across the area. We're allocating other UKSPF and REPF funding to support local community projects, invest in town centres, and develop skills.

Businesses throughout Central Bedfordshire, including both urban and rural areas, are eligible to apply for the support.

Part of the package will see businesses receive innovation and technological support to improve productivity, and help in adopting new or improved products or services. This will be delivered by the University of Bedfordshire.

Independent, not-for-profit organisation, WENTA, are offering support to help those in the process of setting up a new business, and for start-up businesses including social enterprises. Delivery will help potential entrepreneurs to be business ready and understand what they need to know about self-employment.

Also on offer is help and guidance from Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce to get businesses export-ready and engaged in new markets. Export grants will support businesses to expand their overseas trading, boosting local employment and help businesses develop their export strategy.

Other support will be announced in the near future, also delivered by a specialist partner.

Councillor Mary Walsh, our Executive Member for Planning and Development, said:

Businesses in Central Bedfordshire, including those in rural areas, have tremendous potential for growth. We’re in a key location nationally, and are already an attractive area for start-ups, growing businesses, and established industry. This new support, worth £2 million will give a further boost to the local economy, attracting inward investment and creating jobs for local people.

Be Central Bedfordshire, provides full information and updates about what we're doing to support local businesses with UKSPF/REPF money. If you would like further information about business support available through UKSPF and REPF, email: ukspfbusinesssupport@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) is a central pillar of the UK government’s Levelling Up agenda and provides £2.6 billion of funding for local investment by March 2025. It is positioned as the UK replacement of the European Structural and Investment Programme (ESIF).

The fund aims to improve pride in place and increase life chances across the UK investing in communities and place, supporting local business, and people and skills. Find out more about the fund.