A NETWORK of over 30 groups and organisations is set to receive over £2.6million in funding to deliver advice, support and training for Leicester businesses, people and communities.
The local projects will be supported through Leicester City Council’s allocation of cash from through the Government’s UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF).
An open call was launched in May 2023, inviting bids for projects under two categories - Supporting Local Business or People Skills and Communities. Voluntary and community sector organisations in Leicester, together with the council, the city’s universities and business support organisations, were able to bid.
A total of 12 projects – six in each category – have now been approved and will receive funding ranging from £75,000 to over £300,000. They will be delivered by a network of over 30 groups and organisations and will offer a varied programme of support for local businesses and people.
Deputy city Mayor Cllr Adam Clarke, who leads on climate, culture and the economy, said: “Whilst this is a relatively modest amount of funding, the expertise within the projects being supported means we are well placed to deliver huge value to local businesses and community organisations.
“Taken together, these projects represent a programme that will help strengthen the city’s prosperity by delivering advice and support directly to local businesses, communities and people during very challenging economic times.”
The 12 Leicester projects supported through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund are as follows:
- Empower Biz - a comprehensive business support programme led by The Race Equality Centre aimed at individuals running a business who are of African or African-Caribbean heritage. Will include improvements to the African Caribbean Centre, in Highfields, to create a black business hub and co-working space.
- Everyday English – an innovative ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) programme led by Leicester Adult Education and delivered in partnership with community groups and venues across the city.
- ExSEL – a project led by Leicester Social Economy Consortium to support the expansion and development of social enterprises across the city.
- Futures – careers advice, guidance, employability support and entry-level training targeted at long-term unemployed and economically inactive people.
- Growth accelerator for social entrepreneurs – a programme of expert training, consultancy and support to help social entrepreneurs grow their business, delivered by the University of Leicester’s School of Business, in partnership with the Cooperative and Social Enterprise Development Agency and Community Enterprise Engine.
- Leicester Accelerator – a business support project delivered by East Midlands Chamber to help local businesses enhance their digital and low carbon business skills.
- Leicester Productivity Programme – expert help and advice for local small businesses to support growth and help identify areas where productivity can be improved, delivered by leading business support organisation Exemplas.
- Moneywise Living – one-to-one support for people gain financial and digital skills to help deal with the rising cost of living, delivered by Reaching People – a membership organisation of over 35 local voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations.
- NBV Enterprise Solutions – expert advice aimed at early-stage businesses – trading for between one and three years – to support survival and growth.
- Positive Communities 2 – a project aimed at supporting people into employment delivered by the Bangladesh Youth and Cultural Shomiti charity working with seven local grassroots organisations.
- Twin Training Limited – one-to-one support and training to help people with basic skills and ESOL training.
- Zinthiya Trust – support for the most vulnerable households in Leicester to help strengthen their finances during the cost-of-living crisis. Will provide money and energy advice, to help reduce household bills.
Leicester City Council will also allocate £350,000 from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund to a new Community Digital Grant. This will be available to groups and organisations that provide community services within the Leicester. Grants of up to £10,000 will be available to help install or improve IT and digital services.
Details of how to apply, and more information about the UKSPF-supported project, are available online at www.leicester.gov.uk/ukspf
The UK Shared Prosperity Fund is a central pillar of the government’s levelling up agenda which has allocated just over £9m to Leicester to March 2025. The fund aims to improve pride in place and increase life chances across the country.
Leicester’s allocation of the UK Share Prosperity Fund is administered by the city council.