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pounds 5M LIFELINE TO KICK?START THE ECONOMY.

Byline: Jenny Waddington

A pounds 5MILLION lifeline is being offered to businesses across Coventry and Warwickshire to help kick-start the local economy.

The new scheme, due to be announced today, aims to help more than 1,600 people set up new businesses and aid a further 360 existing ventures to grow.

It will provide the region with crucial job opportunities - just days after the latest figures revealed a huge hike in unemployment.

The Coventry & Warwickshire Enterprise and Business Growth package is supported by more than pounds 3.3million from the European Regional Development Fund, which is managed by the Department for Communities and Local Government.

The funding will be matched and delivered by Coventry City Council and Warwickshire County Council, who are contributing around pounds 1million.

An additional pounds 400,000 will come from the Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce.

Communities minister Baroness Hanham said: "In the current economic climate it is vital that we are able to offer hands-on, practical support to local people and their businesses. This new package will do just that - from getting new ideas up and running, help with taking current businesses to the next level or simply a small amount of finance to help pay those initial costs.

"This project focuses on businesses and sectors which have the potential to really grow. From low carbon construction to renewable energy transport, by helping businesses within these areas we also create job opportunities, which are crucial. "I am very pleased that we have been able to put into place such an important package of support that will help the local area and its community to thrive."

Building on the success of Coventry's Local Enterprise Growth initiative, over the next three years individuals and businesses in the local area will be able to get oneto-one support to get ideas off the ground.

The scheme, which also offers help to develop business plans for companies to grow, is particularly aimed at firms working in high growth areas such as low carbon construction, transport and renewable energy.

Coun Linda Bigham, cabinet member for city development at Coventry City Council, said: "This grant will make a big difference to businesses across Coventry and Warwickshire.

"It can be a real challenge to keep going in the present climate and the services which we can now offer thanks to this grant will support and help businesses through this difficult period."

To find out more contact Ryan McHugh at the city council on 024 7683 4805.
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Feb 21, 2012
Words:413
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