Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Funding Boost To Create Jobs In Leicester

By Ben Aulakh

More than £6 million is to be given to new businesses and social enterprises in Leicester, to boost the city’s jobs market and infrastructure.

The city council was given £8.3 million of funding earlier this year by the European Regional Development Fund to create new employment opportunities.

The local authority is now asking businesses and individuals from across the city to come forward and bid to fund a particular job creation or work-space project.

The council hopes that the funding will be used to fund ventures that can provide much needed support and advice to help grow local enterprises.

The remaining £1.9 million will be released in the next few months to support schemes focused on improving the city's streets and public spaces.

Councillor Ted Cassidy, Assistant City Mayor said, “I am delighted to announce the launch of  the largest funding allocation in the East Midlands, which comes as a much needed boost for the local economy.

“It follows our commitment to make Leicester the ‘Place to do Business’, and builds on the Mayor’s recent 100-day pledges to support new and growing businesses, and to create a range of new employment opportunities in the city.”

Cllr Cassidy also said that he was keen to see bids for funding from organisations that can deliver a package of different projects to support business growth and survival, particularly in the most deprived areas of the city.

He added, “I would also like to see schemes that support innovative new businesses for instance in the emerging creative and low carbon sectors, and projects that can contribute to retaining graduates in the city.

This latest funding is in addition to £8 million which was allocated to the city in 2008, money that has been used to support people wanting to start up in businesses in some of the cities most depressed areas.

It has also helped fund improvements to Granby Street, the creation and refurbishment of business workspaces in St Matthews, and Leicester Business Centre.

Leicester City Council's head of economic regeneration Mike Dalzell added, “We know there are organisations out there with imagination and ideas that are in need of support to create businesses and job opportunities for the city.

“I would urge them to contact my team to discuss these possibilities, because if we can lay the groundwork now by investing these funds where they will create the biggest employment benefits, the city as a whole will be able to reap the rewards.”

The deadline for expressions of interest in the money is 2pm on Friday October 7, applicants will then need to put a full bid together in January 2012.

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