ROB JOHNSTON, chief executive of Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, explains how businesses can access a £4m pot of funding to help them grow.
"The Chamber has £4m of funding from the Regional Growth Fund to give out as grants to Cumbrian businesses, focussed on existing manufacturers and those in services to manufacturing. These grants are to help you grow your business and create/safeguard private sector jobs - unlocking the opportunities that may not be able to go ahead because of lack of funding.
"The minimum grant will be £10,000 with a maximum up to £1m. It’s a grant so you don’t have to repay anything - all we ask in return is evidence of jobs created and/or safeguarded. Run by the Chamber, it will be straightforward to apply with fast turnaround on decisions.
"This latest scheme follows a long line of successes the Chamber team has had in winning money to support businesses in the county. It will be delivered by us through the Growth Hub, working alongside the range of support offered by the Chamber and other partners.
"As part of this, through the Growth Hub, we have advisers who can help you get the money and focus it in the best way for your business – free of charge to you.
"And there are certainly the opportunities for further growth out there as many Cumbrian businesses are demonstrating.
"Recent economic indicators show how far our economy has come since the dark days of 2008.
"Without doubt this Government’s policies and approach have been a significant factor in this turnaround – not least Quantitative Easing. And for the first time I’ve known we’ve had a Business Minister who’s genuinely championed small businesses.
"But, and it’s a big but, this is only part of the story. Ultimately it’s businesses that drive the economy and have driven the recovery. They’re the ones that take the risks and have the vision, commitment and stamina that’s enabled our economy to recover so well. So when you listen to the debate over the coming weeks in the run up to the election remember that the reason the UK economy is now doing so well is because of you. It’s your resilience and determination that has made the recovery a reality.
"As many people have heard me say before, if the economy doesn’t perform, that is if businesses aren’t profitable, then we can’t afford to fund our aspirations around education and health.
"With fantastic opportunities and probably the best business support services and funding we’ve ever had driven here in Cumbria for Cumbria through the Growth Hub and Growth Hub partners things look set to get even better.
"Clearly the commitment, drive and entrepreneurial spirit of the Cumbrian business community is serving us well - long may it continue!"
Image © Cumbria Growth Hub / Chamber of Commerce
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