The coalition government is setting aside £450m from the Regional Growth Fund to finance growth in small businesses and safeguard jobs across the nation, reports hrzone.co.uk.
The first investment round of the Fund, which has been awarded to 50 bidders, will directly create and protect 27,000 posts, from marketing positions to language jobs, as well as a further 100,000 in secondary and tertiary jobs.
The initial investment into growth was £250m but the government was so impressed with the “large number of high quality bids submitted”, the amount available was increased an extra £200m. An incredible £2.5bn of private sector investment is expected to be secured to match the government’s initial financing scheme.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg hailed the scheme, claiming: “This money will now help create and safeguard jobs in some of the communities worst hit by the economic downturn. Today is a step towards rebalancing our economy away from an unhealthy over-reliance on a small number of industries and a few areas.”
Bids for a second round of funding will be supported by a series of roadshows across England and will officially stop taking submissions on 1 July.
Lord Heseltine, chairman of the Independent Advisory Panel, has labelled SMEs as the ‘lifeblood of our economy.’
“I have always believed in the need to give real support to small businesses for whom bidding for £1m is way beyond what they could expect,” he told themanufacturer.com.