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LEP to Supercharge Small Business Support

10 August 2018

Solent SMEs and entrepreneurs looking to start-up a business are invited to access the LEPs new and improved business support service.

The enhanced business service, launched today by the Solent LEP, will support businesses seeking to grow through developing new processes, products, services or markets. Any business that meets this criteria will receive support from the LEPs Solent Growth Hub team and the opportunity to access a new Small Business Expansion Fund, which can provide £10,000 - £100,000 to help businesses kick-start their growth plans and create jobs in the Solent.

In addition to small business funding, SMEs with less than 250 employees and a turnover of £250k - £25m that have the potential to scale-up will be able to access the LEPs new Small Businesses Acceleration Programme. The programme will offer up to 12 hours of free business advice, delivered by the LEPs experienced team of Business Growth Coaches, culminating in a bespoke Growth Plan for the business. Businesses with the potential to realise their scale-up ambitions may also be able to access up to £500,000 from the LEP to deliver their Growth Plan.

All Solent businesses and entrepreneurs will also continue to benefit from simplified access to businesses support available in the area through the LEPs established Solent Growth Hub team.

Solent LEP Small Business Ambassador Brian Johnson, said:

"The Solent LEP is a national leader in supporting SMEs through access to alternative finance. To date, we have provided more than £10m in grant funding to over 260 SMEs, helping to create or safeguard more than 1,500 jobs and securing additional investment of over £36.5m directly into our local businesses. Through our new support service, we hope to build on this unprecedented success, support even more small businesses and target investment towards those companies that can supercharge economic growth and drive forward investment in the Solent."

Solent LEP Chief Executive, Anne-Marie Mountifield, said:

"SMEs are truly the lifeblood of the Solent economy and that’s why we are backing them with unprecedented levels of investment, already more than £10 million to date. This includes support for 75 new start-ups that are driving forward our region’s growth in everything from our strategic marine and maritime sectors to our life sciences cluster and the creative industries. SMEs create and safeguard jobs, improve skills and boost the whole region. The Solent Prosperity Fund is another exciting opportunity for both SMEs and entrepreneurs and we encourage those interested in the Fund to contact us directly."

Previous beneficiaries of Solent LEP growth hub support and funding include Turbulent Designs, an innovative Havant-based SME offering full 3D simulation development and bespoke commercial software solutions to a global business base, including the likes of Lockheed Martin, Dovetail Games and QinetiQ.

Trevor Linn, Chief Executive of Turbulent Designs, said:

"The Solent LEPs growth hub team helped set us on the right course, including advising us on accessing funding. Since receiving a grant from the LEP, which helped us expand and take on two new staff at the time, the company has gone from strength to strength and our turnover has trebled. I would thoroughly recommend that any SME in the Solent area with growth aspirations get in touch with the Solent LEP to see how they can help with their journey."

To find out how the Solent LEP can help your business achieve its growth potential, complete an Enquiry Form available here.