COMPANIES looking for help in Burnley and Pendle could receive a share of a £4million pot of cash, offering individual grants of up to £50,000 thanks to a new drive by Nelson-based business experts Enterprise Lancashire.

The county-wide not-for profit organisation, which was formerly known as Burnley and Pendle Enterprise Trust, has succeeded in securing access to the money, specifically aimed at helping small companies in the two boroughs.

Bosses at Enterprise Lancashire said they wanted to help combat the ‘tough climate’ East Lancashire’s economy has endured since the recession started.

Grants and low-interest loans will be made available to companies which meet certain criteria.

Businesses which apply must also have been established in one of the boroughs for fewer than three years.

Kevin Clark, chief executive of Enterprise Lancashire, said: “Businesses have faced a tough climate in recent years and access to funding is a problem many have encountered, particularly because of the recession.

“We’re sure that some of the funding we can help people acquire, will support growing businesses.

“In turn, this will help to create and support jobs in the area.

“We can guide business owners through the application process, leaving them to concentrate on running the business.”

Enterprise Lancashire said it had already helped dozens of local firms access hundreds of thousands of pounds in order to expand, including Protiss, an IT support business based in Burnley.

Justin Beswick, a director at Protiss, said: “Speaking to Enterprise Lancashire is one of the smartest decision I’ve made thus far. From one-to-one support to tutor lead courses, it provided the right environment to get me trading.

“Starting your own business will never be an easy choice, but with the right support it can be incredibly rewarding.

“I would advise anyone looking to start out in business in East Lancashire to make full use of Enterprise Lancashire’s unique facilities.”

Mr Clark stressed that the funds ring-fenced for Burnley and Pendle firms were time sensitive, and urged interested parties to contact Enterprise Lancashire on 01282 389037.