BUSINESSES will be urged to bid for their share of a £3m pot of gold in a Dragons’ Den-style challenge that could breathe fire into the belly of the Redcar and Cleveland economy.
The Redcar and Cleveland Investment Fund (RCIF) scheme will see companies pitch for significant financial backing from a panel of experts aiming to boost jobs and prosperity in the Borough.
Led by Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council, the fund will provide up to £50,000 of loan investment to successful bidders.
All future returns generated through these ventures would go back into the kitty – allowing even more projects to be sponsored in the future.
The scheme was devised after the Council launched a grant programme designed to bring a national retailer to Redcar town centre.
Several expressions of interest were received – highlighting the demand for support for firms to invest in the Borough – before Store 21 eventually opened a new High Street outlet which created 18 jobs.
And with £3m set aside for the RCIF programme, it is hoped that more enterprises will come forward in a bid to secure the backing which could help their ventures get off the ground.
The Council’s Cabinet formally approved the initiative when it met this week.
The fund will only support schemes which otherwise could not have been launched in the Borough. Applicants will have to provide at least 75 per cent of project costs as their own equity.
Councillor Mark Hannon, Cabinet Member for Economic Development, said: “It is no secret that this area has been hard hit by the economic downturn of recent times.
“However, we are determined to strengthen and diversify the local economy, creating jobs and providing training opportunities, and this innovative programme would be a key part of that.
“I look forward to hopefully sifting through plenty of applications that will go on to prosper in the Borough.”
Anyone wanting to register their interest in the scheme should contact Redcar and Cleveland’s Enterprise Team on 01642 495721.