Firms begin to register interest in lucrative fund

AUDIENCE Delegates listen to Stuart Hill, the director of Solent LEP, at the launch of the Bridging the Gap fund at Lakeside North Harbour. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (122044-1)
AUDIENCE Delegates listen to Stuart Hill, the director of Solent LEP, at the launch of the Bridging the Gap fund at Lakeside North Harbour. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (122044-1)
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BUSINESSES have already began expressing their interest in joining a lucrative scheme designed to give local employers a much needed boost.

Richard Jones, of the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership, said he had taken a number of calls from companies who want a slice of a £2.1m growth fund called Bridging The Gap.

The scheme was unveiled by the LEP at the Lakeside Business Park in North Harbour last week and is open to firms who can show that a cash boost would enable them to expand.

Mr Jones, executive support for the board at Solent LEP, said: ‘It’s still early days but we’ve had interest from a number of different firms.

‘We predict that the scheme will become an over-subscribed one.

‘We are urging firms to sign up because it’s a unique opportunity. The money comes in the form of a grant, not a loan – which is a rare thing in the south.

‘We are now going to sit tight and wait and see what happens.’

The money has come from the government’s Regional Growth Fund, and was won thanks to work by Solent LEP, The News, the University of Portsmouth and local authorities.

It is part of a number of schemes which will see between £20m and £30m pumped into the region’s economy in the next few years.

To apply for the growth fund money fill in a form at solentlep.org.uk.

Firms which want to apply will need to prove that the cash will help them get over any barrier to growth.

University of Portsmouth are inviting people to come along and get advice on how to fill in the application form on Friday, July 6.

Times for the event have yet to be confirmed.