The North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has bolstered its supply chain programme to help regional businesses gain access to grants to support the supply of personal protective equipment.

Supply Chain North East is delivered by RTC North in partnership with NEAA, NEPIC and Generator/Digital Union.

Changes made include giving the programme the ability to make payments at the start of a project, as well as allowing SMEs access of up to 60 per cent in grants, which has increased from a cap of 40 per cent. This would be towards pipeline projects stalled due to Covid-19 or activities aimed at developing the supply chain.

Grants of up to 80 per cent are available for organisations which can potentially support supply chain needs relating to the health and social care sectors, including in the provision of PPE, respirators and other products.

The funding has been made available from the government’s Local Growth Fund.

Colin Bell, business growth director at the North East LEP, said: “The changes to the Supply Chain North East programme are significant because they provide the ability to speed up the supply of PPE and other products and services needed in the fight against Covid-19.

“We are determined to give businesses the support they need to unlock projects that will allow them to thrive in the future and this is big step towards that goal.”

Jamie Ollivere, managing director at RTC North, added: “In response to Covid-19, its vital businesses know that through the Supply Chain North East programme they can get immediate support.

“Our team is poised to help businesses respond directly to supply chain demands in healthcare and to support other projects that will help them build resilience and put them on a path back to growth.”

Originally published in InsiderMedia.