European Commission - Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

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Regional Growth Fund

Title of measure
Duration:
2011 to 2016
Policy objectives Plus
4.1. Direct funding to business R&D and innovation
4.3. Fostering start-ups and gazelles
Presentation of the measure:

The Regional Growth Fund is a £2.4b (€3.04b) fund that businesses across England can apply to for grants and loans from 2011 to 2015. It supports projects and programmes that lever private sector investment creating economic growth and sustainable employment. It aims particularly to help those areas and communities currently dependent on the public sector to make the transition to sustainable private sector led growth and prosperity.

Key points of the measure are:

  • The Fund aims to be flexible, with bidders able to submit bids either as a project; or a package of projects; or a programme
  • The Fund does not aim to duplicate existing funds, and where appropriate it will align with other funds
  • The minimum bid threshold is £1m (€1.26m).
Budget, source and type of funding
Year20112012201320142015
National public funds
Regional public funds
EU Structural funds
Private funds
Other
Form of funding provided
Grants
Subsidised loans (including interest allowances)
Policy learning
To what extent the measure can be considered as a success and worthy of policy learning?:
There has been a positive response by beneficiaries to the measure (e.g. over-subscribed in terms of requested versus available budget) but it is too early to judge results or impact
Evidence of outcomes based on evaluation and other evidence:

There is a report by the National Audit Office that provides an executive summary and recommendations for future rounds. In addition BIS published a 10-pages of case studies of RGF projects.

What are the most important “Do’s and Don’ts” that regional stakeholders should be aware of when launching a similar measure?:

The recommendations from National Audit Office are:

a) The Secretariat used standardised appraisal techniques to generate useful information to help Ministers choose between competing bids. Departments, particularly the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, should embed good practices from the Fund’s project appraisal methods more widely.

b) Applying tighter controls over value for money could improve the Fund’s cost-effectiveness and allow officials to get projects up and running more quickly.

c) Due diligence requires bidders to demonstrate their fitness as recipients of the Fund to an independent reviewer. In future rounds of the Fund – and future programmes where appropriate – officials should explore ways to retain greater control of the due diligence process, where this could deliver sufficient assurance more efficiently.

d) The Fund did not have sufficient administrative resources to carry out all the necessary tasks quickly.

e) Robust monitoring and evaluation will be required to validate the number of jobs created by the Fund.

Would you recommend this measure as an example of regional good practice to policy-makers from other regions ?:
Yes
Evaluation report(s)