How firms can get started and apply for fund money

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THE Solent LEP is offering a pot of £950,000 for start-up firms to apply for, and a second pot of £950,000 for existing small and medium-sized firms that want to grow.

The remainder of the £2.1m grant will be spent on administration costs for the scheme.

Start-ups will be asked to contribute 30 per cent of the cost of starting their business. The LEP is also looking for young entrepreneurs who want to start a business, and will give out a minimum of 10 Young Enterprise Scholarships to people who fit the bill.

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

They will be asked to contribute 50 per cent of the required funding, either from within their own budgets or through private investment, which the fund will then match.

As well as the money, successful bidders will be given publicity from The News, and mentoring help from experts at the University of Portsmouth.

Any firm bidding for the money must have a base in either Portsmouth, Gosport or Havant.

The closing date for applications in the first round is July 31. They will be considered by a judging panel on August 30. The deadline for the second round is September 28, with a panel meeting scheduled for October 26. Go to solentlep.org.uk.

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