Green light for £35m business start-up programme

Michael Hunt

Business Secretary Lord Mandelson has given the green light for a £35m business start-up programme aimed towards young entrepreneurs in the North West today.

The scheme is hoped to create 23,000 jobs over a period of five years and support 12,700 new businesses in the region.

At a breakfast summit with local business leaders at the Lowry Arts Centre in Salford, Lord Mandelson said: "This new funding will help entrepreneurs in the north west to get new enterprises off the ground and access the support they need to grow and flourish.

"Nurturing and protecting start ups and young businesses through this downturn will lead us into the upturn that will follow."

Lord Mandelson has set out his vision for a new industrial activism during the past two months.

He added: "We need to train, nurture and support the Richard Arkwrights of the future. It won't be cotton, but it will be bioscience, or green tech, or precision engineering or creative industries. Industrial activism has to be built on precise regional knowledge of what is needed in terms of infrastructure, investment and training."

The Business Start Up programme will be accessed through Business Link Northwest.

The funding for the programme includes:

  • £26.6m from the North West Development Agency
  • £8.4m from the European Regional Development Fund

The first installement from the total figure of £35m will start from April 2009 and last a period of five years. Local authorities can also add to the programme by coming forward with extra funding.

Steven Broomhead, chief executive of NWDA, said: "The Business Start Up programme aims to encourage and support people with a business idea to gain the necessary expertise to put that idea into practice. We are listening to the established businesses in the region and responding to their needs with a package of business support measures but it is also vital for our future growth that we continue to help and encourage business start ups.

"We are fully aware that it is a tough business climate at the moment, but we have a robust and diverse economy and it is important that in 2009 we are developing a business culture of realistic optimism."

  • People should contact Business link on 0845 00 66 888 or through

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