Since being unveiled last June, the Bridging the Gap scheme, which is backed by The News, has helped create more than 80 jobs and brought in excess of £1m of funding into local businesses.
All of this is definitely good news.
And as we have announced today, a further 10 businesses have been awarded more than £300,000 from the fund.
While we are being told by the government that the green shoots of recovery are out there, local evidence of that can often be somewhat harder to come by.
The public sector continues to be squeezed as more cuts are made –with even more promised in the pipeline, and further job losses are inevitable.
As a result schemes like this, backing small to medium-sized businesses are vital in helping to revive local economies.
Look at the latest group of businesses that have benefited, from a cosmetics testing firm to a potty training tool developer and a coffee shop – it shows there’s a great diversity of talent and skills out there, but sometimes it needs a little bit of help to achieve its aims.
These are the kinds of businesses that have proven they’ve got the initiative to take advantage of a scheme that can help make their company’s future that much brighter.
With thousands of new homes and hundreds of thousands of square feet of business space expected to be created across south Hampshire in the next couple of decades, the region’s economy is expected to grow.
Everyone is hoping that the economy will return properly to growth and the financial horrors of recent memory will be fading into the past by then.
But we will still need entrepreneurs and people willing to seize the initiative to keep our region moving forward.
Next time around, the LEP’s investment panel is looking to back a further 15 businesses – get your applications in early.