Steve Rotheram launches £2.24m High Growth Innovation Fund

Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, has announced a new £2.24m High Growth Innovation Fund to help dozens of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to grow and create good quality jobs.

Funded by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and the European Regional Development Fund, grants of between £25,000 and £75,000 will be available to high growth businesses, and those with the potential to be high growth. 

The £2.24m fund is intended to support existing Liverpool City Region businesses to get new products or services to market, or develop new processes to help them adapt and grow, contributing to the region’s post-pandemic economic recovery.

The High Growth Innovation Fund builds on two pilot rounds of the Future Innovation Fund which saw 35 local companies receive support worth £2.1m. It will contribute to Mayor Rotheram’s ambition to invest 5% of regional GVA on Research and Development (R&D) by 2030 – nearly double the government’s UK target.

Speaking about the High Growth Innovation Fund, Mayor Steve Rotheram said, “SMEs are the lifeblood of the Liverpool City Region’s economy, accounting for 99% of all businesses in our region. The role they have to play in helping drive our recovery from the pandemic cannot be understated. We need smart, bold businesses in our region with the potential – and ambition – to expand and innovate.

“I want to help even more businesses on their growth journeys. This fresh round of funding will encourage local business owners to tap into their entrepreneurial spirit. The return on this investment will be massive for our economy, helping to create thousands of new well-paid, secure jobs, all while supporting our wider targets for innovation.

“This is just one of the many ways that our city region is leading the way to help local businesses to succeed. I can’t wait to see the impact of this latest funding and the opportunities it will unlock for SMEs across the region.”

Councillor Jan Williamson, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Portfolio Holder for Inclusive Economy and Third Sector, said, “We know how important our small and medium sized businesses are to our economy – they provide the vast bulk of employment across our city region and we need this sectors high-growth businesses to perform to their full potential, creating good quality jobs and boosting our economy. 

“This investment will do exactly that, supporting our high-performing SMEs to ensure that they can play a full role in our economic recovery as we look to rebuild after the pandemic.”

Asif Hamid, MBE, Chair of the Liverpool City Region LEP and portfolio lead for Business Support for the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority said,  “The launch of this fund is great news. Over the last two years we have seen stories across the city region on how businesses have innovated and adapted in the face of the pandemic and it is essential that we ensure those businesses are fully supported.  The High Growth Innovation Fund is one such way and has been designed to help innovative ambitious businesses sustain and grow, ultimately creating the opportunities that will help drive the economy of our region.”

“We know that these ambitious businesses are going to be the core driving force of our city region over the coming months and years and I would encourage any business to get in touch with Growth Platform – Liverpool City Region Growth Company who are delivering this fund and who have developed a whole range of programmes and support services to help accelerate and support growth.”

The High Growth Innovation Fund is part of a new £6.6m LCR High Growth Programme, that will provide a range of tailored business support to high growth SMEs, complementing the £75 million Business Support Package launched by Mayor Rotheram in September 2019 – the largest of its kind in decades when it was first announced.

The fund, which will be delivered by Growth Platform – the Liverpool City Region’s Growth Company, is open to projects from any sector, speciality or technology (except those specifically excluded in the eligibility criteria). Applicants must have 50% match funding, must not use the funding to pay existing salaries and should aim to demonstrate impact within six months of receiving a grant.

Proposals must also align to at least one of the city region’s six strategic priority areas (as outlined in its draft Local Industrial Strategy), namely: Open Health Innovation; Sustainable Industrial Future; Global Cultural Capital; Zero Carbon Economy; Tech for Good; and Digitalisation.

Applications for the new High Growth Innovation Fund are now open and will close at 5pm on Friday 20 May. For more detail on how to apply, including eligibility criteria, please visit  

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