The Combined Authority has approved a £600,000 investment as part of a five-year agreement to further scale up a successful free service that assists SMEs across the Liverpool City Region (LCR) find and secure external funding.
The LCR Finance Hub provides free and impartial advice to predominantly small and micro businesses in the region, assisting them to identify and approach the most appropriate finance provider to secure funding and helping navigate them through the sometimes daunting process.
Since its original establishment in 2017, the Hub has supported over 2,000 LCR businesses, including facilitating over £2m of funding since January 2021 alone. Given its impartial nature, funding has been drawn from a wide variety of commercial sources and follows over 180 referrals for funding or other non-financial support over the same period.
To date, the hub has been funded by MSIF, and more recently Growth Platform, but a review of its existing performance in consultation with private sector funders and professionals showed that its current resource did not enable it to fully meet demand in the City Region.
The Combined Authority investment, alongside the continued support of MSIF and Growth Platform, will enable the LCR Finance Hub to meet this demand by recruiting further staff to provide a broader and more intensive service to a greater number of businesses across the LCR.
Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said:
“Small and medium sized businesses have borne the brunt of the pandemic’s economic shocks. We’ve invested tens of millions of pounds to help safeguard people’s lives and livelihoods and keep the region’s economy afloat.
“Now, as businesses are beginning to think positively about the future again, we’re investing to give them access to free practical advice to help get them back on their feet and growing again. Since January 2021, the LCR Finance Hub has helped unlock nearly £2m for local businesses, creating jobs and training opportunities in the process.
“This extra funding will help the hub ramp up its brilliant work, attract more investment and create even more jobs.”
Councillor Janette Williamson, Deputy Metro Mayor and Portfolio Holder for Inclusive Economy and Third Sector, said:
“Our city region’s small and medium-sized businesses are at the heart of our economy, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs and employing nearly half of our workforce. Their success will drive our economic recovery and create the jobs that our local communities need. This investment in the LCR Finance Hub will be a tremendous resource for helping our local businesses to thrive.”