A new fund to help Cumbrian entrepreneurs has been founded to mark the 20th anniversary of a quantity surveyor.
Solomons Europe, based near Kendal, has established its own entrepreneur fund to help homegrown Cumbrian businesses.
The firm has committed time and funding to Pay It Forward; a series of initiatives supporting local people, communities and industries.
The company's founders Kerry and Dominic Doig were themselves the recipients of investment from their former boss which helped establish the business.
Managing director Dominic said: "Taking a business from start up to SME is a tough challenge, and industry stats show the failure rate is high".
"It was a very steep learning curve for us and that is why we believe it is important that a business in its early stages has access to support, advice and crucial finance to see it through to a realistic profit position and to set them on the path to achieve business success."
Earlier this year, Solomons ran their own competition Who wants to be an Entrepreneur? inviting eligible Cumbrian businesses and entrepreneurs in their first three years of trading to pitch for funding in front of a panel of five judges.
One of the winners was Cable and Blake, in Kendal, which makes fashion and furnishings from Herdwick wool.
It plans to put the money towards marketing its products and to grow from a regional business into a national one.
Another part of the Pay it Forward initiative saw Red Pike Education receive the New Start Up business award and a sum of money from Solomons at this year’s British Energy Coast Business Cluster Awards.
Clare White, director at Solomons, said: "The judges chose Red Pike Education because they were a worthy cause with a real sense of community spirit, passion and drive. They are not just helping people into employment, but they are also indirectly contributing to the local economy."
James Keuchel, director at Red Pike Education, said: "We are honoured and delighted to have won the start-up award because it shows that industry experts believe there is value in our mission and that our company can grow to make a real difference in West Cumbria. The cash prize that Solomons Europe have given will be vital to our growth. One of our primary uses of the finance will be in IT so we can enrich our own delivery with greater use of technology."
Little Lifers First Aid, which was shortlisted for the New Start Up Business Award, also received a special commendation and access to the Solomons Entrepreneurs fund.
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