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Small or medium sized business? There's £13.4m in EU fund to help you grow


SUPPORT worth up to £13.4million is being made available to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in Dorset.

The Dorset Business Growth Partnership has been launched to help SMEs based in the county become more competitive. Its work will include “pre-start” and start-up support, as well as improving companies’ digital capabilities, management and leadership skills and scope for going international.

Access to finance will be delivered through grants and loans alongside advice, mentoring, training and events.
The three-year SME Competitiveness programme is funded by the EU’s European Regional Development Fund and led by the not-for-profit business support company WSX Enterprise and Dorset Growth Hub, with a range of partners supporting it. There will be tailored support for specific sectors including manufacturing, the creative and digital industries, tourism and hospitality, health and social care.

Programme and partnership manager Lucy Cooper said: “We’ve done a great deal of planning to put this highly integrated programme together, based on what companies and entrepreneurs in Dorset have said are the key barriers to growth for them. “This is all about creating transformational change and benefits for SMEs in all parts of Dorset, as well as having a foundation on which to build sustainable business support for the future.”

Support organisations for the scheme include Dormen, the Arts Development Company, Silicon South, YTKO and Bournemouth University.
Local authorities across the county are backing the scheme, with Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership acting as strategic partner and Bournemouth Borough Council the accountable body.
Launch events were held at AFC Bournemouth’s Vitality Stadium, for the east of the county, and South Walks House in Dorchester, for the west. Dorset Growth Hub and its partners will be working together to highlight the programme to eligible SMEs.

The England European Regional Development Fund invested £6.7m, with match funding bringing the value of the project to £13.4m, as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme, which runs until 2020. The EU fund helps areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation and business, create jobs and generate communities.

More details are at dorsetgrowthhub.co.uk


Story Courtesy Bournemouth Daily Echo