By Max Clarke

Lord Heseltine is visiting Yorkshire today to encourage local businesses and entrepreneurs to bid for cash from the Government’s flagship £1.4bn Regional Growth Fund.

Yorkshire's sucessful bid will put it alongside other regions that have won support under Heseltine's scheme, including the North East and the North West.

The Regional Growth Forums taking place across the country are an opportunity for potential applicants to the fund to learn more about the bidding process. Speaking at the event, Lord Heseltine will encourage them to bring forward high-quality proposals that promise to unleash local talent and help communities in Yorkshire to flourish.

Up to 170 local businesses, entrepreneurs and civic leaders are expected to attend today’s event at the AMP Technology Centre in Rotherham.

The Regional Growth Fund has two key objectives:

* to stimulate enterprise by providing support for projects and programmes with significant potential for economic growth and create additional sustainable private sector employment; and
* to support in particular those areas and communities that are currently dependent on the public sector make the transition to sustainable private sector-led growth and prosperity.

Lord Heseltine is Chair of the Independent Advisory Panel, which will consider all bids for funding and make recommendations to Ministers about which should be successful. He will be supported by a team of business and civic leaders and academics, including his Deputy Chair, Sir Ian Wrigglesworth, who will also speak at today’s event.

Lord Heseltine said:

“I’m delighted to be here in Yorkshire as an advocate for this important Fund.

“The Regional Growth Fund presents an opportunity for businesses and entrepreneurs in Yorkshire to help shape their own economic future.

“I hope today’s road show will inspire people to think strategically about how this fund can deliver a positive change to their local economy; creating new jobs and benefits for local people.”

The Regional Growth Fund will operate over three years. The first of at least three bidding rounds is currently open and the deadline for proposals is 21 January.