A £7.25MILLION scheme to help promote business growth in Lancashire has moved a step closer with the approval of match funding from the European Regional Development Fund.

The Lancashire Business Growth Hub will enable businesses to create more than 1,200 jobs by 2015, safeguard a further 700 and boost the Lancashire economy by £20m, bosses said.

Through the hub, firms with high growth potential will be prioritised for access to practical specialist advice, coaching and mentoring.

It will bring a package of growth-related services together in one place around the firm.

Dennis Mendoros, member of the Lancashire Local Enterprise Partnership board and North West ERDF Local Management Committee, said: “Our priority with ERDF money coming to Lancashire and within the Local Enterprise Partnership is supporting local businesses and creating local jobs.

“The Lancashire Business Growth Hub is an excellent project which will do both of these things, boosting the local economy.”

The LBGH will aim to stimulate growth by matching firms with high growth potential with finance and equity networks, as well as other professional and knowledge services.

Lancashire County Council will invest £2m in the hub, with a further £1m coming from other partners and £600,000 from participating businesses committed to investing in their own growth.

Support for businesses will come through the hub funding package and through associated initiatives. This backing will include: l Practical advice and support for companies who want to develop new products and new markets.

l Access to a world-class programme of management and leadership development through leading business and academic thinkers.

l Experienced business mentors matched to growing businesses to support their ambition.

l Support for businesses who want to develop their workforce.

l Help for businesses seeking accommodation.

l Support for businesses seeking finance/working capital.