Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen and the Tees Valley Combined Authority cabinet has agreed a £35m investment to establish a new support service for the region’s businesses.
The programme will provide local companies with a single point of contact for a range of support to help businesses start up and grow, including comprehensive advice on funding and finance options and assistance in establishing links with potential funding sources.
It will also include a £20m Tees Valley Business Fund, the largest investment fund of its kind in the region, awarding grants and loans to firms looking to invest, expand and create jobs.
The scheme, which will be launched in January next year, will build on the current Tees Valley Business Compass service, which has offered guidance and funding to around 1,400 local businesses since 2017.
Mayor Houchen said: “I’ve never made a secret of my support for business, and small and medium-sized businesses play a vital role in the Tees Valley economy.
“Job creators, innovators and entrepreneurs should be given all the help they can get to thrive in our region and, now that we’ve signed off this investment, we can make sure they will be.
“The new fund will be easy to access and user-friendly, offering advice and support as our businesses continue to go from strength to strength.
“The easier it is for our hard-working companies to access the cash they’re crying out for, the sooner they will be able to get things done, benefiting us all through the creation of high-quality jobs and boosts to our economy.
“The launch of this new more responsive, easy to use fund to support our local businesses delivers on another key promise I have made.”
Middlesbrough mayor Andy Preston, combined authority cabinet Lead for business growth, said: “Our awesome businesses need funding, support and mentoring. This new idea will be a massive boost and help them to create jobs.”