Cash boost for county businesses

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An £850,000 boost to help start and grow businesses across the county has been announced this week by West Sussex County Council.

The 18-month Be The Business programme will offer one-to-one support to businesses, grants to help people who want to start a new enterprise or grow their businesses locally, and new funding opportunities for existing businesses to take on Higher Apprentices.

Be the Business officially launches across West Sussex this week and has been commissioned by the County Council to support its key priority of boosting local economic growth and creating jobs. The programme is funded by the Kick Start programme, which was set up in 2011 to help unlock the potential of the local economy.

Be The Business has three main areas of focus:

• A business support programme offering one-to-one support to local companies through a series of workshops, events and access to expert advice, over the coming months.

• A business ‘start up and grow’ grants scheme which could unlock funding of up to £30,000 per successful applicant. The grants are open to any business in the county and anyone who wants to start a business.

• The ambition to create at least 50 new Higher Apprentices across the County for people aged 18-24 by providing employers with a grant of £2,500 towards salary costs.

The business support and business `start up and grow` grants scheme will be delivered by a consortium led by The University of Chichester, with support from Sussex Enterprise, Branduin Business Support Services and MDHub. The Higher Apprenticeships Grants Scheme will be delivered by the County Council, working with the National Apprenticeship Service and local training providers.

West Sussex County Council’s Leader, Louise Goldsmith, said: “The economy is a key focus for West Sussex County Council over the coming years as I know it is for us all. The more we can do to help create the conditions and support to ensure businesses prosper in the county, the better for everyone.

“The Be the Business programme has been designed to address the issues that businesses have told us need attention - access to finance and support in order to grow and help boost the economy and create jobs.

“I’m also delighted that such a key part of the programme is the offer to local businesses to take on Higher Apprentices.

“We want to support employers to recruit and develop the young talent they need for business growth and success, and we want to help promote apprenticeship opportunities for local young people.”