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27.06.03
Objective One invests in £7 million extra support for Conwall's small businesses

A £7 million boost is being given to the level of assistance available for Cornwall's small businesses through an important new Objective One project.

Business Link Devon and Cornwall will be using the money over the next three years to significantly increase the range and depth of support available through their existing Small Business Service.

The move will create an expanded support network for start-up and established businesses. It will include a central information hub – consisting of the Business Link Information and Enquiry Service, supported by the Enterprise Edge service provided by Cornwall Enterprise. This, in turn, will be supported by a network of experienced business advisers.

The project will also manage key funds to which businesses looking for project-based financial support and organisations involved in delivering business support can apply

Bob Dow, CEO of Business Link explained: "The project aims to assist the development of a coherent, joined-up and sustainable business support network and to provide a combination of high quality information, advice, support and brokerage services for small or new businesses."

It is estimated that the additional support provided for small businesses through the project will lead to around 800 jobs being created.

Mr Dow added: "Over the next three years we anticipate this extra money will lead to nearly 2,000 small and medium enterprises receiving guidance and nearly 400 getting direct help.

"We'll be specifically helping with key business issues – providing, for example, targeted workshops on important areas including environmental impact and IT."

Mr Dow said: "We forecast that the net result of this additional support for the small business sector will include more than 800 new businesses starting up – including around 200 new starts by women. Combined with the impact of the support for existing businesses, we expect to see nearly 800 new jobs created, another 500 safeguarded and more than £30 million in gross additional sales added to the Cornish economy."

The Director of the Objective One Partnership, Carleen Kelemen, added: "The whole purpose of Objective One is to bring greater economic and social prosperity to Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. To do that, it is fundamental that we create a positive and supportive climate in which both individual entrepreneurs and businesses can set up and grow. This is a significant boost to the level of support available for Cornwall's business community and is to be greatly welcomed."

The total cost of the project is £7,009,000. Objective One is investing £3,504,500 from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF); a further £2,255,304 will come from Business Link Devon and Cornwall, while the remaining £1,249,196 will come from the private sector.

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Editor's notes:

European Regional Development Fund (ERDF):

ERDF is one of our four funds that make up the Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, which is making £314 million of investment available for developing the local economy between 2000 and 2006. ERDF exists to:

Help reduce the gap between development levels and living standards among the regions and the extent to which least-favoured regions are lagging behind.
Help redress the main regional imbalances in the European Community by participating in the development and structural adjustment of regions whose development is lagging behind, and the social conversion of regions.

Business Link service for Devon and Cornwall is designed to provide the best possible help to people starting, running or growing a business. At its core is an information and enquiry centre supported by a network of local and national specialists and support organisations. Business Link receives European investment to enable it to deliver its services in Devon and Cornwall. For more information telephone 0845 600 9966.

For further information contact:

Ian Gent
Business Link for Devon & Cornwall
Telephone: 0845 600 9966

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Jason Clark
Communications Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Tel: 01872 241379
Fax: 01872 241388
jason@dclark.co.uk

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