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Uni boosts economy with a huge project

By Kelly Wickham
kelly.wickham@sussexpost.co.uk

 

Businessed in the south of England could be boosted by a new £11million project from the University of Chichester, intending to drive economic growth in the region.

 

The initiative, known as the Business Hot House programme, is offering to support more than 1,000 firms – large and small – and 500 start-up entrepreneurs to improve productivity and innovation.

 

The multimillion-pound grant was awarded by the European Regional Development Fund to develop businesses in the Coast to Capital Local Economic Partnership area, which covers West Sussex and parts of East Sussex and East Surrey.

 

Business Hot House manager Gareth Sear, from the University of Chichester, said the programme would help to create a strong economic ecosystem in the LEP region through imaginative business partnerships, enterprise education, and support for start-ups.

 

He added: “This is one big programme of support led by several partners – the university, specialised business support providers and local authorities – which will provide an all-encompassing programme of expertise. I urge business no matter how big or small to register an interest.”

 

The project, which is open for applications, provides opportunities for established small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to strengthen their business practices and make them more profitable – but will also look to help start-ups develop new and existing ideas.

 

It will focus specifically on improving business leaders’ knowledge to increase productivity and innovation, which are areas highlighted by Coast to Capital as barriers to growth.
Support will be delivered through workshops, bootcamps, peer-to-peer groups, and business mentoring sessions led by academics and experts from the university, among
others.

 

Jonathan Sharrock, chief executive of the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “We are delighted that the Business Hot House Programme has been awarded a significant portion of the Coast to Capital LEP area’s European Regional Development Fund allocation to help support the growth of small to medium sized businesses in our
area.

 

“Our economic plan has recognised developing business support as a key strategic priority and this scheme will help local businesses and the local economy to flourish.”

 

Funding for the Hot House programme comes from a £5.5million grant from European Regional Development Fund, which will be match-funded by SMEs in the Coast to Capital LEP.

 

Businesses interested in the Hot House programme should register their interest at: chi.ac.uk/hothouse or by emailing manager Gareth Sear: g.sear@chi.ac.uk

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