Welcome to the East Berkshire Branch of the FSB. We have a very active committee working for the benefit of local businesses in our region, which covers the area from Winnersh in the west to Slough in the East. The key towns are Wokingham, Bracknell, Windsor, Maidenhead and Slough.
Thames Valley Berkshire LEP commits £7.25m of capital to create next generation businesses in the sub region
The Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (TVB LEP) has committed £7.3 million of capital to create a new Funding Escalator, which will offer finance to SMEs that can deliver growth, in line with the remit given to LEPs by government. This is a cornerstone of the government's strategy for LEPs – to achieve growth locally. This element is part of a balanced strategy by the LEP that focusses on strategic infrastructure; employment and skills; and aims to develop the next generation of businesses that can contribute to job creation and the prosperity of the sub region.
The Funding Escalator is an initiative led by TVB LEP. It comprises a series of repayable loans and went live on 1 February 2013:
- £1.75 million has been allocated for a commercialisation scheme, which will support newly established companies that need limited support to enhance their market position.
- £4 million has been allocated for an expansion scheme, which will support development to scale up a business and accelerate its growth.
- £1.5 million has been allocated to a growth or equity scheme, which is designed to support ambitious growing businesses and will be released when matched with private funds.
The FSE Group (an independent not-for-profit Community Interest Company) is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority, and will be responsible for managing the Fund on behalf of the Local Enterprise Partnership. TVB LEP has delegated this responsibility to an organisation that has proven expertise in this field; indeed during the five years to 2011 FSE leveraged £107m of additional capital from an initial investment of £29m. The FSE Group is working with VitalSix in terms of the Thames Valley Berkshire Growth Fund.
If you're interested in hearing more or applying to the SME Escalator Fund then contact our Fund Manager in the first instance – Martin Coomber at The FSE Group at email@example.com or visit www.thefsegroup.com/thames-valley-berkshire-funding-escalator
An alternative route to finance is available through the Thames Valley Berkshire LEP Bankers' Forum. This enables businesses in receipt of a conditional or part offer of a commercial bank loan, to apply for Growing Places funds as a top-up advance for their project, thus allowing the deal to go ahead. The normal process for this will be through a bank but any questions can be directed to the LEP Business Director, Tim Smith, on 07500 870172 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Town Centre Developments
Maidenhead – Local Traders are concerned about the impending development of Maidenhead Town Centre and your local FSB branch is arranging consultative meetings with the leaders of the Council
Bracknell – The FSB are working with the local Authority, Bracknell Regeneration and our supportive MP to ensure that local businesses are consulted and have input to the redevelopment
The Bigger Bracknell Debate
Following a meet the MP breakfast with Phillip Lee in January, there was a feeling that one of the big issues was the redevelopment of the town centre. The FSB decided it would be an idea to pull together the council, Bracknell Regeneration, Legal and General and Phillip Lee in order that Bracknell Regeneration and Legal and General could give an update on the regeneration process. There was a good mix of a healthy debate and a "Question Time" panel scenario where questions were fielded from the audience.
It was obvious from the meeting that a number of the business felt they were not kept informed and communication was not what it should be.
The FSB have said that this is the first of these type of meetings and another would be held before the end of 2012 for an update, and that it is important to make sure action is taken as a result of the first meeting and that everyone moves forward with positive enthusiasm.
East Berkshire prides itself in holding over 60 events a year for members to be able to network with other local businesses with regular meetings in Wokingham, Bracknell, Windsor, Taplow and Slough. For more information on the events, go to: