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Issue:- 23 February  2012

£1 billion growth fund boost open for business

AS of 23 February 2012 an extra £1 billion is available to businesses seeking support to help them create new jobs and grow, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg will announce.

The funding is part of the Regional Growth Fund and takes the total fund to £2.4 billion. It will be available to businesses and public / private partnerships with ambitions to create new jobs and make a significant impact on their local economy.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg will make the announcement at the Government’s National Manufacturing Summit being held at the Bristol & Bath Science Park.

He is also set to confirm that 48 of the successful firms from the first two rounds of the fund have completed their legal checks and have access to the Government fund which leverages private sector investment, with at least £5 will be put in for every £1 of public money.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said:- "The Regional Growth Fund is already having a huge impact across the UK. So far there have been over 170 successful bids to the fund, leveraging around £7.5 billion of private sector investment and set to create and protect 330,000 jobs. I want to see more businesses that are confident they can create jobs and get Britain building and making things again, coming forward; making sure their hats are in the ring. Funding from rounds 1 and 2 has gone to some extraordinarily promising manufacturing projects. From Pirelli Tyres in Carlisle who’ll use the money to develop a new range of carbon-cutting tyres; to a Portsmouth based company which hopes to use theirs to create a cutting edge boat building college. These are the kinds of projects that will lead their communities into brighter times, helping put industry at the heart of the UK’s economy. Businesses have until June to apply for a share of this extra £1 billion."

Ahead of the summit, the Deputy Prime Minister will be joined by Business Secretary Vince Cable at GKN Aerospace, Bristol to open the company’s new £150 million advanced composites manufacturing centre, where the 27 metre long Airbus A350 wing is being made. When operating at full production, the facility will provide employment for 250 people.

Business Secretary Vince Cable added that:- "The Regional Growth Fund is starting to make excellent progress. Already 48 firms have started to access their funding, and around a third have started their projects as they go through legal checks. This means jobs are being created, money is being invested and the fund is making a difference. But we cannot be complacent. The additional £1 billion in the fund will help us maintain momentum around supporting even more businesses and encouraging the creation of new jobs. Many of the successful projects from rounds one and two were manufacturers and the sector remains one of our national success stories. Manufacturing lies right at the heart of the Government’s strategy for economic recovery and growth."

Since the last update a further 20 projects have now signed their contracts. These include DTR VMS in Chippenham, Wiltshire and a number of firms in the Let’s Grow Campaign, run by The Journal in Newcastle and Middlesbrough.

Many of the 176 successful bidders from rounds one and two, which are currently going through their legal checks, have already started their projects, with around a third of the companies reporting that activity is underway.

It was also announced at the Summit that ‘See Inside Manufacturing’, a pilot initiative introduced last year to give young people the opportunity to go behind the scenes of some of the UK’s world-class automotive facilities to learn about modern manufacturing, will return again this June (2012). This time it will be extended to three new sectors; aerospace, defence, and food and drink.

The Government’s Make it in Great Britain campaign received an added boost at the Summit with the announcement of 23 new ‘Industry Champions’, bringing the total to 30. The Champions; who are leaders in their field across a variety of sectors within manufacturing; have signed up to lend their support to the campaign, which culminates in a 6 week exhibition at the Science Museum this summer during the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Business Minister Mark Prisk said:- "Worth approximately £130bn a year and employing 2.5m people, the manufacturing industry’s contribution to our economy cannot be understated. The Government remains committed to manufacturing, which is why we have placed it at the heart of our Growth Programme. Equally so, showcasing manufacturing as a worthwhile career choice for young people in modern Britain is another goal of Government, which Make it in Great Britain and See Inside Manufacturing are helping to lead for the long term prosperity of the industry."

Vince Cable also announced that Sir Richard Lapthorne, Chairman of Cable and Wireless Communications plc, has been appointed as Chair of the Lead Expert Group for the Foresight Future of Manufacturing Project, a 2 year project investigating the long term future of manufacturing.

The Manufacturing Summit brought together Government and key industry leaders to discuss and debate progress, the upcoming challenges and next steps for the sector as the Government continues to put manufacturing at the heart of its Growth Programme.

Software City International 2012

AS part of Global Entrepreneurship Week, Liverpool will be hosting a special, one off, super charged edition of Software City International, on Wednesday, 14 March 2012, at the ACC (Arena and Convention Centre) located on the former King's Dock, Liverpool. The aim of the Global Entrepreneurship Congress will be to bring businesses and investors together. It is hoped that it will attract entrepreneurs and finance providers from Liverpool and abroad, so that they can discover the potential in Merseyside based business and provide access to vital new connections, plus give top quality advice. The event will also see a special guest appearance from a BBC Dragon, and presenting will be BBC’s Simon Jack. Regardless of the sector you are in, if you want to grow your business, discover new ways to access finance, learn how to get your company investment ready or even if you simply want to come and network with people who have 'been there and done it', well you cannot afford not to register. There is no cost to attend, but you must book NOW to avoid disappointment as capacity is limited. To reserve your place, please go to click on here. "Once your place is confirmed you will also be placed on the exclusive guest list for the after show networking party, to be held in the stylish Pan American Bar, located on the historic Albert Dock. You will receive a confirmation email once your booking has been processed." Liverpool Vision told us.

I ♥ Gaming inspires the next generation of digital entrepreneurs

THERE can be only be few schools in the UK, let alone in Liverpool, who can say they enticed pupils back to the classroom on the very 1st day of their half term holiday; yet there’s is one! North Liverpool Academy was the location for on Monday, 13 February 2012, of an unusual site, with 100 plus teenagers lining up to get through the doors of this striking building overlooking the city on Everton Brow.

Granted, computer games were involved. And yes, there was the promise of meeting with Sony, creators of PlayStation. But even so, I Love Gaming, the event behind this half term pilgrimage, was entirely educational, involving a bit of brainpower, imagination, concentration and investigation, as well as plenty of classroom work!

I Love Gaming offered a ground-breaking mix of digital workshops, interactive demonstrations and 3D presentations by successful games developers, who were themselves eager to speak to the ‘next generation’ of innovators.

The highlight was undoubtedly The Stereoscopic 3D Experience, a keynote session from Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) and screened by White Space Productions. Armed with 3D glasses, the audience was captivated by Sony’s vision of the future using the latest technology that allows 2 viewers to see 2 different images, simultaneously, on 1 screen.

Among the experts who turned up to talk to the young delegates were Liverpool-based mobile app creators Apposing, interactive software developer Onteca, Catalyst Outsourcing, Setgo and Totem Games. Many had worked on popular games such as Wipeout, James Bond and Formula 1, and were releasing new games, apps, software or hardware using the latest technology.

Academics and students from Liverpool John Moores and Sheffield Hallam universities encouraged the young people to think about further study. While 3-D Hub, Flashbang Science and robotics company RoboSavvy; creator of Nao, an endearing humanoid robot; held the gamesters wide-eyed and enthralled.

Keen supporter of I Love Gaming was BAFTA award-winner Ivan Davies, whose company, Catalyst Outsourcing, provides production solutions for all aspects of videogames. Ivan’s Catalyst workshop drew in large groups of youngsters throughout the day, as he outlined the range of skills and specialized knowledge needed to get ahead in the gaming industry:- "There are so many opportunities in a huge number of disciplines, from development to production, sound, animation, publishing and sales. However, it’s the people who have the best and most workable ideas, who know the technology inside out, and who know the psychology behind how and why a game will be popular, who will have the most success. One thing is certain, though – people like playing games. They will continue to play games. And the market will just grow and grow."

I Love Gaming was also a golden opportunity for the pupils to learn from successful businesses, educators and entrepreneurs as well as getting the chance to talk them about the opportunities that are available to them, now and in the future. As well as trying their hand at creating backgrounds, characters and movement, students gained knowledge of the science behind the games, and were given an informed insight into the roles and jobs that are available; from coders to designers, audio engineers to animators, and testers to producers.

"More than £300 million a year is generated by the games industry in Merseyside. We have growing companies, desperate to employ talented young people, right here on our doorstep. Liverpool is the place to be if you want a career in the gaming technology sector."
said Jade Parkinson-Hill, Director of Enterprise, North Liverpool Academy.

3D-Hub (a joint venture between White Space Productions and US company Instant Effects) showed how 3D can improve lessons in schools. Using advanced graphics, students can look inside and view objects from all angles, making the classroom a place of inspiration and exploration. Many budding entrepreneurs also quizzed former Academy pupils Alex Ormrod and Stephen Patterson, both 19, who created the successful web-based Mafia game Tough Society. Now at university and studying internet computing and computer forensics respectively, Alex and Stephen are sure to have fuelled many more young dreams.

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