DOZENS of jobs are set to be created thanks to a pot of cash aimed at boosting businesses in Portsmouth, Gosport and Havant.
Earlier this year the area was given £1.8m to help existing small and medium businesses looking to expand, as well as new firms starting up.
Local companies were asked to apply for a slice of the money.
Now funding of £201,000 has been given to 10 new businesses for projects worth more than £412,000 with the potential to create more than 60 jobs.
And £390,750 will go to nine existing businesses which want to grow, supporting projects worth £1.3m.
The rest of the Bridging the Gap fund will be allocated during a second round of funding applications.
The firms’ identities remain under wraps as they now have 12 weeks to finalise their business plans.
Bridging the Gap was the idea of Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage, who approached The News and the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership to get £2.1m from the government’s Regional Growth Fund to support it.
Stuart Hill, Solent LEP Director and chairman of the Bridging the Gap investment panel, said: ‘We were delighted with the amount of interest we have received in Bridging the Gap and hope to build on this in the second round.
‘The projects the panel are backing have real potential to deliver for the Solent economy and to flourish into extremely successful businesses.
‘I would of course like to thank all those entrepreneurs and businesses that have applied in round one.
‘We hope this is just the start of the funding support we can bring to small businesses across the Solent.
‘The Solent LEP currently has a bid of our own in to the government’s Regional Growth Fund for resources to roll the programme out to Southampton and the Isle of Wight, and today’s news on the success of this first round shows how great the demand is for this type of innovative support.’
Ms Dinenage added: ‘Bridging the Gap is an important step to bringing sustainable growth to Gosport, Portsmouth and Havant, by targeting the areas that are most in need of job creation.’