West Northants Council to invest millions into business growth and sustainability

West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) has launched a competitive commissioning round to identify partners to deliver key elements of its multi-million-pound investment plan which will benefit the local economy and support businesses’ sustainability goals.

The Council is inviting suppliers to submit tenders to deliver two leading projects; Decarbonisation and Growth & Innovation. Both projects have been allocated £625k from the Council’s UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF). The Fund, which is managed for the Government by the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities supports the Government’s levelling up agenda.

Among the plans for the UKSPF funding include providing business support and revenue grants up to the value of £20,000. The fund will encourage businesses to innovate and understand how they can grow their sales, profits, workforce and business as well as supporting employers to understand their energy usage and the measures they can implement to reduce emissions, increase efficiencies, and save on energy costs.

The chosen supplier for the Decarbonisation project will distribute grant funding and work with local businesses to develop sustainability plans which specifically outline how they can achieve a Net Zero future and utilise Government funding to address carbon emissions: having a beneficial impact on their business, the local area and the planet as a whole.

The chosen supplier for the Growth & Innovation project will distribute grant funding and work directly with businesses to deliver measures to help progress their growth journey and implement actions to increase productivity, including 121s, training, webinars and dedicated expert advice.

In addition, over £800,000 of Rural England Prosperity Funding (REPF) will soon be available to support businesses in eligible rural areas. Across the three projects activities will target investment in supporting the drive to net zero, increasing business productivity and growth, and capital investment to support transformative rural initiatives.

Cllr Daniel Lister, Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Town Centre Regeneration and Growth, said: “We are a local authority that recognises local employers as the lifeblood of our economy and it is for this reason, we are thrilled to be delivering the majority of our UK Shared Prosperity Fund to support local employers, improve and create jobs, boost the local economy and raise the profile of West Northants as an area where everyone can thrive with the support of a Council which is dedicated to strengthening business growth and potential.

“As a Council, we’ve worked hard to carefully plan how to use this funding to realise our growth aspirations for our area and ensure this funding has a beneficial impact on the local economy whilst addressing specific challenges and opportunities as identified from the data and consultation which informed our UKSPF Investment Plan.

“We have a comprehensive range of projects, initiatives and activities taking place between now and March 2025 which aim to deliver impactful interventions that will benefit the whole community; from public realm improvements to voluntary grants, to business support and upcoming funding dedicated towards supporting local people and enhancing skills.

“We are looking for delivery partners who share our ambition for inclusive and resilient growth in West Northants and are particularly interested in suppliers that can provide innovative and creative approaches for both the Growth & Innovation and Decarbonisation projects.”

Cllr Jonathan Nunn, Leader of West Northamptonshire Council, said: “We are delighted to be investing this UKSPF funding into local businesses. We want our funding to be inclusive and to really make a difference, to benefit the many thousands of businesses we have in this area to prosper.

“These projects will not only help to grow our local economy and future-proof employment by creating a more inclusive market which is resilient to the impacts of climate change, they will also enable local businesses to diversify and invest in new technologies and energy saving measures which save them money and work towards reaching West Northants’ sustainability goals.

“We strongly believe that by working together to implement sustainable practices, initiatives, and investments and considering the small but vital steps we can all make, together we can achieve our shared mission to become Net-Zero by 2045.”

The tender closing date for the Decarbonisation and Growth & Innovation projects is Friday, 8 December 2023. Projects are expected to commence in spring 2024 and will run to the end March 2025. Further details and information regarding the tendering process can be found on the WNC website