A new job creation fund established by a regional morning newspaper in partnership with its local university has officially opened for business.
The Western Morning News teamed up with Plymouth University to launch a Regional Growth Fund for the South West.
The project is designed to create jobs across the Cornwall and Scilly Isles local enterprise partnership regions by awarding grants to small businesses that have struggled to access finance through other means.
The £1m fund has now been formally launched by Business Secretary Vince Cable.
He said: “I applaud this initiative of Plymouth University and Western Morning News. It’s a very imaginative scheme to promote small business in the area.
“The aim of the Regional Growth Fund is to help local people unlock the growth and jobs opportunities in their area, and I’m pleased bids from the first round are starting to make progress towards achieving this.”
Morning News editor Alan Qualtrough said: “The Western Morning News is delighted to be involved in the Regional Growth Fund and to help the South West create a spirit of enterprise.”
Plymouth University vice-chancellor Prof Wendy Purcell added: “The launch of the Plymouth University and Western Morning News Growth Fund will take us to the next level in driving economic growth, to help SMEs create jobs in the region.”
The Morning News is planning a Dragons’ Den-style contest where businesses will compete for a share of the £1m they have been awarded.
It is one of two regional dailies to be allocated money under the growth fund initiative, alongside the Liverpool Echo.