Business Secretary Vince Cable announced a £1.2 million investment in Northamptonshire’s ‘high performance technology’ sector today.
The Liberal Democrat visited the University of Northampton at its Avenue Campus earlier this afternoon to launch the Government-funded scheme to boost companies in the county which work in industries such as motorsport, aerospace and defence.
He said: “It’s a very good project and it supports engineering.
“(Northamptonshire) is an area of the country we take too much for granted. It’s an area of growth and success. It’s very much at the heart of England.”
The fund will help companies which are looking to invest in new equipment, machinery or premises or which are trying to develop new research methods.
Northamptonshire currently has more than 1,000 companies working in the high performance technology area.
It has been estimated the sector is worth £2 billion to the county’s economy.
Mr Cable credited Northamptonshire for having a very successful Local Enterprise Partnership and a successful university that comes top of the ranks for helping students into employment when they leave education.
He said the new funds would strengthen engineering in the county, and added: “There is a desperate need for engineers at graduate level.
“There is a lot of job growth in Northamptonshire depsite problems in the economy generally.”
Tim Bagshaw, from the Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership (NEP), which is overseeing the fund, said: “High performance technology is an incredibly important industry to the Northamptonshire economy and with such a large proportion of the industry being smaller businesses, it has powerful potential to grow.
“Having worked closely with the sector for a number of years, we have identified that access to finance is a major restraint to growth so we’re delighted to launch such a considerable fund to help address this issue.”
It is hoped the fund will enable the creation of 300 new jobs in the county.
Applications for the funding can be made by companies from today.
For details of how to apply, either email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.northamptonshirelep.co.uk