The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) is responsible for management of the EU funding which is dedicated to regional development.
The main objective of the ERDF is to support the projects and activities which reduce the economic disparity within the member states of the EU. It financially aids projects that stimulate economic development and increase employment in the poorest regions of the EU. It aims to make the regions more attractive to tourists and investors, improve transport and basic infrastructure, increase the quality of education and promote regional development.
The ERDF focuses its investments on several key priority areas – innovation and research; the digital agenda; support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and the low-carbon economy.
Since 2007, the 10 ERDF programmes in England have invested billions of pounds of funding into local projects, helped 25,932 new businesses to start or move into the local areas and created around 131,375 jobs for local people.
Fund focus – Innovate for Growth
Innovation 4 Growth (I4G) is a funding scheme developed using the European Regional Development Fund. It supports SMEs in the West of England to develop innovative products, technologies, processes and services, with grants of £10,000 to £75,000.
I4G is a grant funding programme run by the University of the West of England, Bristol. Developed using the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), it supports small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the West of England to develop innovative products, processes, technologies and services.
SMEs operating in any sector, with a presence in Bristol, Bath and North-East Somerset, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire can apply.
The objectives of this fund are to generate R&D activity, create new jobs and new to market products and grow the economy in the region.
“All of Europe’s regions are classified into one of three categories according to their GDP compared to the overall GDP of the EU. In the UK, the less developed regions are Cornwall, West Wales and Valleys which have a per capita GDP of less than 75 per cent of the EU average. Businesses in these regions benefit the most from ERDF funding so it is worth checking if your business is in a priority or transition area for this fund.”