Phase 2 of Bridging the Gap is launched11th December 2013
The Solent LEP, in partnership with Southampton City Council and The Daily Echo, have launched phase 2 of Bridging the Gap
Phase 1 of the funding programme has been supporting new business start-ups and SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises) in Portsmouth, Gosport and Havant, and following yesterday's launch, applications to the fund are now invited from Southampton, the Isle of Wight and the waterside parishes of the New Forest.
Individuals and businesses can apply to the £1.85m fund for grants of between £5,000 and £50,000 to start up a new business, grow an existing business or safeguard jobs.
Bridging the Gap is a competitive fund, and the Investment Panel will be looking to identify those projects which can create or safeguard the most jobs and leverage the most private sector investment into SMEs.
Alongside the Bridging the Gap launch, a dedicated Ford Impact Fund was announced, with £500,000 of the £1.85m fund ring-fenced to support individuals and supply chain SMEs affected by the closure of the Ford Plant in Swaythling, Southampton.
Full details on Bridging the Gap Phase 2 can be found here.
If you are interested in applying for Bridging the Gap funding, you can download a short Expression of Interest form, available here.
The first deadline for applications is 21st June 2013 and potential bidders are recommended to submit applications early to avoid disappointment.
If you are a business based in Portsmouth, Gosport or Havant looking to apply to Bridging the Gap, there is still funding available. Find out more here or download an Expression of Interest Form at www.solentlep.org.uk/downloads.
Read on for details on the Bridging the Gap Phase 2 Launch
Last night's launch event, hosted by The Daily Echo, was attended by close to 100 delegates from business, business representative organisations, banks and business service providers with one key message from the Solent LEP, Southampton City Council and The Daily Echo: help us get the message out to SMEs and entrepreneurs about this new funding opportunity.
Delegates at the launch event heard from a host of speakers with a range of expertise in funding solutions for new start ups and small business.
Ken Moon, Regional Chairman at Federation of Small Business, opened proceedings outlining the importance of funding for businesses, particularly at start up phase, where Bridging the Gap funding provides a unique new opportunity.
Graham Cooper, Area Business Manager at Barclays, updated attendees on some of the current offers from the commercial banking sector for new start-ups; including free banking services, business plan reviews and free networking and information sharing seminars.
Leigh Atkinson, Corporate Banking Director at RBS, provided an overview of the banking sector's offer for existing SMEs, including highlights on a number of government backed schemes which aim to ensure banks are able to lend to small businesses, such as the Funding for Lending scheme and the Enterprise Finance Guarantee.
Solent LEP Director Stuart Hill officially launched Bridging the Gap in Southampton, Isle of Wight and the waterside parishes of the New Forest, stressing the importance of SMEs to the Solent LEP's growth strategy, before introducing Jonathan Hulls, who was successful in securing £33,000 from phase one of the Bridging the Gap programme to start up his new business, UK Biofuels Ltd, in Portsmouth.