More than 1,000 jobs are set to be created in Liverpool City Region through a £16 million support project to help businesses expand.
Liverpool City Council and Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has successfully bid for almost £8 million from the European Regional Development Fund, with it being matched funded with an additional £6 million from the private sector and £2 million of public funding.
The New Markets and Growth Business Programme, which runs until October 2015, is aimed at supporting small businesses to grow and access export markets.
The city council will be partnering with specialist business support agencies including the University of Liverpool Management School, the Women’s Organisation and Smaller Earth which helps young entrepreneurs. They will provide advice and support to assist 1,190 businesses across Liverpool City Region, 714 of them in the city itself.
Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, said: “At a time when public sector employment is reducing, it is absolutely vital that we do more to support businesses to expand and create jobs.
“Growing startup businesses and encouraging entrepreneurs is crucial if we are to make sure there are opportunities for our residents.
“The International Festival for Business taking place later this year is a huge opportunity for Liverpool to market itself to the world, showcasing the city as a great place to invest. This scheme will help us support our own firms to take advantage of the profile and exposure that the event will create.”
A recent report by the Centre for Cities found that Liverpool was the fifth best performing city for creating private sector employment with 12,800 new positions since 2010, but it still lags behind large conurbations in terms of business density.
Councillor Nick Small, Cabinet member for employment, enterprise and skills, said: “We’ve been very clear that Liverpool needs to create jobs by supporting businesses to grow, especially small and medium sized enterprises.
“These are the businesses that will be the drivers of economic growth and employment opportunities in the future. This successful award shows that we mean business.”
As well as creating an estimated 1,080 positions, it will safeguard a further 276 jobs.
The council’s Cabinet is being asked to accept the funding at its meeting on Friday 28 February.