A SENIOR government minister is to speak at an event in Malvern to highlight funding available to local companies from the European Union.

Sajid Javid, secretary of state for business, innovation and skills, will be the keynote speaker at the Hereford and Worcester Conservative Business Forums conference, to be held in the council chamber at Malvern Hills District Council on Friday, October 16 from 10am to 3pm .

The event will focus on how small and medium sized businesses can bid for and win funding from the EU’s Horizon 2020 scheme. Three businesses in Worcestershire and Herefordshire have already been awarded up to €2.5million from the fund. The programme will cover tips on applying and how to use the money to grow a business and exports. The conference is free to attend and a buffet lunch will be provided.

Tony O’Donnell, chairman of The Smart Actuator Company in Malvern, which is one of the firms which has already successfully bid for funding, said: “The process of application in itself is a really good thing for any SME to go through. Win or lose you will be a better company as you go through the self-assessment, business planning and goal setting that are part of the application. Then if you win, the champagne can flow.”

Simon Smith, economic development manager at Malvern Hills District Council added: “We are pleased to host such a beneficial event in Malvern so local businesses have the opportunity to come and hear about accessing European funding to support their growth.”