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GSK Enterprise Fund boosts job creation

Phil Wilson

Cumbria Business Growth Hub is launching a £0.5m grant scheme to help mitigate the impact of job losses at GSK in Ulverston.

The GSK Enterprise Fund offers grants between £2,000 and £100,000 to businesses across much of South Cumbria to meet up to 30% of the cost of projects that create permanent jobs.

Any size of business can apply, including start-ups and social enterprises. The Growth Hub is running the programme, which is funded by GSK.

Phil Wilson, Site Director at GSK, said: “GSK’s focus is on supporting our staff following the recent difficult news so we are grateful to Cumbria Business Growth Hub and Furness Economic Development Forum for taking the lead in delivering this job creation scheme on our behalf.

“We are pleased to be able to provide the funding for the scheme, which businesses can apply to for support in creating sustainable jobs. I’d encourage all businesses, small or large, to consider a grant application if it can help you to achieve your business growth plans in the local area.”

Businesses can find out how to apply through the Growth Hub’s website at https://cumbriagrowthhub.co.uk/business-support/gsk-enterprise-scheme

Alternatively, they can call 0844 257 84 50.

Suzanne Caldwell

Suzanne Caldwell, Deputy Chief Executive of Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, the lead partner in the Growth Hub, said: “This is a golden opportunity for businesses. GSK selected us to operate the scheme because we have proven in-house expertise to run successful grant schemes of this sort.

“Alongside the grants we can provide Growth Hub advisers to help applicants put together their proposals and provide wider support to implement their plans – plus draw on other support through the Growth Hub and potentially more widely.”

The two-stage application involves an initial expression of interest – to ensure the proposal meets the scheme’s criteria – and then a formal submission.

Applications will be considered by an independent panel of specialists chaired by Stuart Klosinski of Furness Economic Development Forum.

He said: ”Our aim is to generate lots of interest in bidding for this new fund to enable companies to deliver business and jobs growth across eligible parts of south Cumbria.”

Priority will be given to projects that create high-value, sustainable jobs, and those that might not go ahead without grant support.

The scheme will continue until the £500,000 pot provided by GSK has been exhausted.

Furness MP John Woodcock, who established and chairs the GSK Ulverston Taskforce of stakeholders, welcomed the grants.

He said: “This Enterprise Fund is an important and welcome measure designed to enable GSK workers facing redundancy to find new opportunities for their world-class skills.

“I am grateful to members of our taskforce for their work in helping shape the package and hope it will give a real boost for

people looking to create alternative employment in the area.

“It is good to see GSK living up to its promise to help its loyal workforce move on after the bitter disappointments of recent years and I look forward to continuing working with the team.”

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