New business support fund set to boost Havant economy

Havant MP Alan Mak speaking at the launch of the new �250,000 business support fund, which he has created with the Solent LEP
Havant MP Alan Mak speaking at the launch of the new �250,000 business support fund, which he has created with the Solent LEP
Cllr Michael Cheshire

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BUDDING entrepreneurs and business owners across Havant could be given a cash boost following the announcement of a new £250,000 support scheme.

Havant MP Alan Mak and the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership have teamed up to create the Havant Business Support Fund.

Entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized enterprises will be able to bid for grants, loans or funding.

The scheme, unveiled yesterday at Langstone Technology Park, was proposed by Mr Mak and has been established by the Solent LEP through the Solent Growth Deal.

Mr Mak said: ‘Backing our local economy is my top priority as MP and I am delighted to announce this new fund to support local people.

‘Having worked on the idea for the past 18 months, I wanted the fund to give businesses and entrepreneurs the cash boost they need to turn ideas into reality.

‘I encourage anyone thinking of starting up a business in Havant to apply.’

Businesses can bid for a sum of money between £10,000 and £75,000 to contribute towards projects that will unlock additional investment, improve productivity and support jobs.

Mr Mak added: ‘Coming from a family of small business owners, I know that sometimes the only thing holding back growth is an injection of new money, which is where this new fund could help.

‘The LEP has worked hard alongside me. We’re keen to hear from people who might be affected by the Pfizer wind-down, as this fund could be the perfect catalyst to help them launch their own business.’

Last month Pfizer announced that its packaging and distribution centre in New Lane, Havant, would close by 2020, meaning that almost 300 jobs are at risk.

The fund aims to support businesses and start-ups with high growth potential and those seeking to develop new products, and enter into new markets.

It will help individuals who are interested in starting a new business, and small businesses facing challenging trading conditions.

Mr Mak has been working in Westminster to promote small businesses in his role as chairman of the all-party parliamentary group for entrepreneurship. An official launch for the fund will take place in the New Year.

Head of policy, communications and partner engagement at the LEP Richard Jones said: ‘We have invested significantly in the Havant economy through the Solent Growth Deal in recent years, with £4.5m funding unlocking the development at Dunsbury Park, and over £450,000 invested in the Havant SME business base to create jobs in the area.

‘The £250,000 Havant Business Support Fund will bring our investment in the Havant borough to over £5m, and we hope to be able to support new and existing businesses.’

To find out more, visit solentlep.org.uk.