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Q&A: What is the Future Energy support programme?

The Local Growth Hub’s Future Energy programme supports the growth of businesses in the Liverpool City Region that offer renewable energy products and services. We spoke to programme head Phil Southward to find out more

LGH: What is the Future Energy programme?

PS: The Future Energy programme is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) via the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG). It offers SMEs in the Liverpool City Region that are operating in the renewable energy supply chain, or that intend to do so, support to maximise their sales. That support can include insights into the requirements of the supply chain, grants for building capability, increasing capacity and exhibiting at trade shows, procurement advice and guidance and access to market research.

How does the LCR Future Energy programme benefit the Liverpool City Region?

By delivering targeted support to businesses and helping them to grow, the fund will contribute to the economy of the Liverpool City Region. It will also help to create more higher value employment opportunities within the renewable energy supply chain. As it is relatively young, the sector has the potential to grow significantly over the coming five years. With this in mind, the fund will also cater for smaller companies that may need support in order to take advantage of this growth.

What support does the programme give businesses in the Liverpool City Region?

Businesses will be assigned a dedicated business advisor who will carry out an initial diagnostic to analyse where best the initiative can support them. This could be the provision of some targeted market research or assistance in growing their sales, for example.

Following the initial round of assistance, businesses can apply for grants of up to £10,000 – to assist at an intervention rate of up to 30% of total costs – to improve their capacity or capability. Financial support at an intervention rate of up to 25% of total costs to support attendance at a national or international trade show is also available. This is aimed at helping businesses to increase awareness of their products and services among buyers within the renewable energy supply chain.

Many smaller companies, shy away from bidding into larger corporate supply tenders. The Future Energy programme can also offer procurement validation and advice to smaller companies for bidding on such tenders. This helps businesses to secure contracts, includes an assessment of their current practices and provides advice on responding to pre-qualification questionnaires.

What sort of businesses can receive support through the programme?

The programme is for small- to medium-sized businesses employing under 250 staff and with turnovers of less than €50 million. They must be located in the Liverpool City Region and either be operating in the renewable energy supply chain already, or be showing serious intent to do so.

What sort of events will businesses be able to attend as part of the programme?

The Future Energy programme event series comprises educational workshops that provide an opportunity to network with suppliers and buyers in the sector and to market products and services.

You can find out more about the LCR Future Energy programme on the Local Growth Hub website.