More than 1,500 jobs are set to be created across Liverpool City Region using millions of pounds of funding to support businesses.
Half of the money for the £10 million Merseyside Business Support Programme is coming from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) with the remainder from local authorities and the private and voluntary sector.
It will assist 3,190 businesses across the City Region by the end of July 2014, with 1,721 of them in Liverpool.
Liverpool, Halton, Sefton, Knowsley, Wirral and St Helens Councils have joined forces with voluntary and community sector representatives for the project, which will help local businesses maximize their job creation opportunities and target people from disadvantaged areas.
It is particularly aimed at priority employment sectors in the super port, low carbon, knowledge and visitor economies.
A total of 998 jobs will be created in Liverpool; 115 in Halton; 125 in Sefton; 125 in Knowsley and 57 in Wirral. In addition, Vauxhall Neighbourhood Council; Sefton CVS; ELECT (East Liverpool Economic Community Trust Ltd); Wirral CVS and Halton and St Helens VCA will support businesses to create a total of a further 152 jobs.
Councillor Nick Small, Liverpool’s Cabinet member for employment, enterprise and skills, said: “This is a substantial sum of money which will enable us to help and support firms as they strive to expand.
“We want to make sure that people living in the most deprived parts of the city region benefit from job opportunities.
“We will be providing expert assistance to those who can help us achieve our aim of increasing the skills and confidence of people in these communities to become ready to access employment .
A further 1,101 jobs will be safeguarded through the programme.