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FLEDGLING firms are in line for a boost with the launch of a business hub aimed at providing help for companies that want to expand.

The Solent Growth Hub will offer businesses advice and guidance to help them grow and create more jobs.

The University of Portsmouth and Hampshire Chamber of Commerce are behind the scheme, paid for with a £2.6m grant from the government’s Regional Growth Fund.

Alistair McDermott, the director of innovation services at the university, said: ‘It’s there as a one-stop shop service for people to get business advice.

‘Its aim is to provide business support in the Solent area and help growth and create jobs.

‘Many here were hit by the BAE closure and this can help companies in the supply chain diversify their business.

‘Companies are crying out to grow and generate new jobs.

‘Often all that’s needed is a new connection or the right piece of information at the right time – the Solent Growth Hub aims to make sure that businesses know where to go for that information when they need to.’

The hub has been funded with cash from the Regional Growth Fund, which became available when the area obtained a City Deal from the government earlier this 
year.

Later this year, the hub plans to launch an online web portal that will help it reach more businesses in the region.

The idea for the Solent Growth Hub was thought up by a collaboration of organisations including: the University of Portsmouth; Portsmouth and Southampton city councils; Hampshire Chamber of Commerce; Isle of Wight Council; Hampshire County Council; the University of Southampton and Southampton Solent University.

For information about the Solent Growth Hub, visit solentgrowthhub.co.uk or call 01329 820898.