Businesses across the West of England can access a new, locally run, £25 million Fund that will safeguard and create jobs, by matching public and private money.

The West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), the organisation that draws public and private sectors together, will distribute the money, which comes from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund.

Businesses can apply for grants of between £10,000 and £1 million to help in four areas – research and development, training, capital investment and recruitment of disabled or disadvantaged workers. The Fund can also be used to support young innovative enterprises and small businesses newly created by female entrepreneurs.

LEP Chairman, Colin Skellett, said the new Fund marked an important landmark: “One of our original aims was to encourage economic growth by removing obstacles. Often it is a problem accessing finance which stops businesses developing and creating new jobs. This Growth Fund will go some way to helping deal with that issue and I hope many businesses come forward to make use of it.”

The Growth Fund will be used to support distinct projects or activities which would either not happened at all or which will be bigger or delivered more quickly as a result of the extra help.

Deputy Chairman and Leader of North Somerset Council, Nigel Ashton, also urged businesses to make the most of the opportunity: “We want to see job growth not only in a wide variety of sectors but also right across the West of England. I have high hopes that there will be a big take up and also that existence of the grant leads to further investment which will have a real impact on economic development.”

Businesses have until the end of July to submit their formal applications but they can simply express an interest during May to learn more about the fund before deciding whether to apply. Full details of the Fund, including how to apply can be found at