Companies are being invited to share part of a Â£3 million funding pot which will create more than 170 jobs in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire.
And the cash â€“ which has been awarded to Stoke-on-Trent City Council following a successful bid to the Governmentâ€™s Regional Growth Fund (RGF) â€“ will also see the creation of a dedicated innovation centre to speed up the process of businesses getting their services and products into the market place.
Now companies in both the city and across the county are being invited to apply for grants from the fund while demonstrating how a successful application will generate new jobs, safeguard existing employment, and lead to possible expansion.
The money from the RGF will be distributed by the Innovative Growth in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Programme (IGISS), a council-led scheme which aims to further enhance the areaâ€™s economy.
A partnership with Staffordshire University â€“ which is looking to relocate a further 2,750 students in the city â€“ will see an investment ready manager put in place to help companies access funding.
Part of the grant will also be used to help set up a business plan competition in the area. This initiative will see successful entrants enjoy three monthâ€™s free rent at an enterprise unit alongside a Â£5,000 grant which they must be able to match.
Firms hoping to land some of the main pot â€“ with available grants ranging from Â£10,000 to Â£999,999 â€“ must be able to demonstrate how the money will not only create new jobs but safeguard existing employment.
It is anticipated the scheme will lead to the creation of 178 full-time jobs and 72 roles being protected. Those jobs must be sustainable and last a minimum of three years.
With all grants handed out to be match-funded, it is expected the overall sum pumped into the areaâ€™s economy will be Â£11.7 million.
Any business hoping to access the fund is asked to call Vanessa Darlington, the Stoke-on-Trent City Councilâ€™s programmes and data manager enterprise and skills, on 01782 233671 or e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively contact Angela Kidney, project support officer, by calling 01782 231586, or e-mail email@example.com