Two leading regional daily newspapers have won a total of £8m to help job creation initiatives on their patches.
The Post won £5m from the £1.4bn fund, while The Journal was awarded £3m on behalf of 11 small businesses it has pledged to help.
The funds will be administered by the newspapers as a means of giving employers access to new capital to help them create jobs.
The Journal’s award comes on the back of its ‘Let’s Grow’ campaign launched earlier this year in a bid to kick-start the local economy.
Its £3m grant will be distributed among the 11 companies who took part in the collective bid and will help create or safeguard the employment of 433 people.
Journal editor Brian Aitken said: “It is really pleasing to see that these important bids have been successful.
“A lot of hard work has gone into this from all involved, and we are proud to be helping create jobs in the North East.”
Meanwhile the Birmingham Post award is set to be used to provide grants of £10,000 or more to businesses in the area.
Its scheme will operate in a smimilar way to the one administered by the Liverpool Echo, which was successful in the first round of funding.
The newspapers became involved in the bids because the minimum £1m bid for a single company is too large for most small firms businesses.
Ministers had asked local partners with strong links to business communities in their regions to parcel the money up to distribute it to smaller businesses.
Mark Prisk, the minister for business and enterprise, said: “There was concern that by having a sensible threshold of a million – so that we aren’t spending a lot of money proportionately on the administration of those very small schemes – that we might rule out the opportunity to help with local programmes with small and medium sized enterprises.
“So several newspaper groups have stepped up to the plate and offered to co-ordinate the funding.
“If you are dealing with a £1.4 billion fund then you can’t start sending out packages of £10,000 because the cost of administering that doesn’t make sense.
“So the Birmingham Post have stepped in.”