A £680,000 pot of cash is up for grabs to help create or protect jobs and boost businesses.
The successful Bridging the Gap fund has reopened for more applications after already dishing out more than £1m for small firms.
There is a pot of £682,022 still to be allocated to small, medium, or start-up businesses which can create more investment, or boost jobs in the Portsmouth, Gosport, and Havant areas.
The money has come from the government’s Regional Growth Fund, and is being distributed by the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership in conjunction with The News, the University of Portsmouth, and local authorities.
Steve Futter is the senior account manager for the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership. He said: ‘Since we had to close the fund, we have had a lot of interest from exciting new projects.
‘We are delighted to be able to reopen for new applications.
‘We have already exceeded our original job target of 200, but we do not want to stop there and are hoping to secure many more in our final two funding rounds.’
So far, a total of £1,167,978 has been allocated to 39 small and medium businesses and new start-up firms.
Of that cash, £746,495 has been forked out and the other £421,483 earmarked for applicants who are still working up their final proposals.
It is estimated the funds will lead to an additional investment of £2,484,873 for firms in the area, creating or safeguarding 233 jobs in the process.
As reported in The News, minister for Portsmouth Michael Fallon visited the base of SC Vital Fitness in Farlington on Wednesday to see what is being done in the area to help small firms.
Sean Cole, a 40-year-old ex-navy physical trainer from Gosport, set up the fitness centre there and received a £30,000 grant from the Bridging the Gap fund.
He has encouraged anyone who wants to make a go of their own business to give it a try.
‘Thanks to the fund I managed to open a place that is a hundred times better than I ever expected and things are going really well,’ he said.
‘I would encourage anyone out there to do it.
‘If you’re willing to put the time and effort in, you will get the results.’
Details of how to apply for the fund will go live on the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership’s website today at solentlep.org.uk.