Hub will boost jobs and local economy

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A £7.25m scheme to help promote business growth in Lancashire moved a step closer with the approval of match funding from the European Regional Development Fund.

The Lancashire Business Growth Hub will enable businesses to create more than 1,200 jobs by 2015, safeguard a further 700 and boost the Lancashire economy by £20m.

Through the hub, firms with high growth potential will be prioritised for access to practical specialist advice, coaching and mentoring. It will bring a package of growth-related services together in one place around the firm.

The Lancashire Business Growth Hub will stimulate growth by matching fir! ms with high growth potential with finance and equity networks, as well as other professional and knowledge services.

Companies will access the hub through a simple, one-stop portal which gives local companies easy access to existing and specially-commissioned quality business growth support.

The hub has been developed and delivered by business, underpinned by a partnership between Lancashire County Council, UCLAN, Lancaster University, Regenerate Pennine Lancashire and Winning Pitch, with £3.6m of the funding provided by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Lancashire County Council will invest £2m in the hub, with a further £1m coming from other partners and £600,000 from participating businesses, committed to investing in their own growth.

Support for businesses will come through the hub funding package and through associated initiatives. This support will include:

* Practical advice and support for! companies who want to develop new products and new markets.

* Acc ess to a world-class programme of management and leadership development through leading business and academic thinkers.

* Experienced business mentors matched to growing businesses to support their ambition and growth.

* Support for businesses who want to develop their workforce.

* Help for businesses seeking accommodation.

* Support for businesses seeking finance/working capital. Contact LCDLinfo@lancashire.gov.uk.