By Daniel Hunter

Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership (NEP) is delighted to announce £735,000 of funding has been awarded to 17 Northamptonshire businesses in round 1 of its Northamptonshire High Performance Technologies (HPT) Investment Programme.

The grants, awarded and managed by Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership, with support from local industry and the Government’s Regional Growth Fund (RGF) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), will create 180 jobs and safeguard a further 49 jobs. In addition, these funding awards will enable the 17 successful companies to secure a total of £5.1 million in private sector investment.

Successful applicants in the first round of funding include manufacturer English Harbour Yachts, whose funding will be used to develop and market a new, environmentally friendly motorboat; vehicle tracking company VeriLocation, that will expand its business and product offering as a result of the funding; and specialist composite manufacturer MCT Engineering, whose funding will be used not only to expand its premises but also to invest in new staff to help grow the business.

Tim Bagshaw, Head of Investment at Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership, said: “Northamptonshire’s HPT network is an incredibly important industry for the local economy and with over 80% of the cluster being small or medium sized businesses it has real potential for growth. This funding forms part of a bigger support programme that is helping to make that growth happen, with the first round of funding already securing a significant number of jobs and high level of private investment. We would encourage other businesses in the area who feel they might also benefit from the fund to get in touch.”

The Northamptonshire HPT Investment Programme was awarded £1.2 million from the Government’s RGF and £500,000 from ERDF aims to support the development of the HPT network of around 800 companies. The HPT network has been identified as having significant potential for business and employment growth.

There are around 800 companies in Northamptonshire’s HPT network, a cluster of industry activity which has developed from the county’s strong history and links to motorsport. The network has grown to incorporate companies operating in sectors such as defence, aerospace, marine, construction and renewables and is estimated to be worth over £2 billion to the local economy.

Alan Bowers from English Harbour Yachts said: “This funding will be invaluable to our continuing success and to growing the local economy. Receiving this investment will enable us to develop a new 26 foot motor boat at our new factory in Oundle which is not only stylish and appealing, but also environmentally friendly with diesel, electric or hybrid engine variants and designed to ensure maximum efficiency. This funding will also assist with the regeneration of the Oundle Marina site. We are looking to work closely with other similar local businesses in the county, and the project will ultimately lead to 14 jobs secured, with £311,000 private investment.”

Business Minister Michael Fallon said: "The awards announced from the HPT fund are fantastic news for businesses in Northamptonshire. The funding will be vital in maintaining the area's reputation for industry and advanced manufacturing as well as creating jobs and growing the local economy.”

"The Regional Growth Fund is helping to kickstart British business and is the Government's commitment to encourage long-term employment, boost private sector growth and lead to a more balanced economy."

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