By Daniel Hunter

The Government is inviting bids from private companies for the latest round of funding through its Regional Growth Fund (RGF), which closes later this month.

The RGF is a £2.6 billion Government fund to support private sector-led projects across England designed to stimulate economic growth and jobs.

The Fund has already allocated £2.4 billion in previous funding rounds, for example for innovative R&D projects in the medical, engineering and automotive industries, including to car maker Bentley Motors. The current round of funding will allocate a further £350 million.

There are also a number of approved RFG programmes aimed at small and medium-sized enterprises seeking smaller amounts of funding.

Smith & Williamson is one of a number of major accountancy firms helping the Government to promote the scheme.

Are you eligible?

The RGF is open to bids from private sector organizations, applying individually or in partnership with other private or public sector organizations (universities and charities are considered private sector for these purposes).

The minimum bid threshold is £1m and funding must be drawn down by 31 March 2015.

Projects must be based in England, but a bidding company may be based elsewhere. Applicants who have been successful or unsuccessful in previous bidding rounds are still eligible to bid.

Bidding criteria

Successful bids will need to demonstrate that they would:

- create additional sustainable private sector growth
- rebalance the economy in those areas currently dependent on the public sector
- not otherwise go ahead without support from the RGF
- offer value for money
- be State Aid compliant.

The deadline for applications for the current round of RGF funding is noon on 20 March 2013.

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