A £2 million fund has been launched to support established local businesses develop.

The Growing Our Potential Fund from Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, aims to provide direct funding to local firms to help them deliver their growth plans.

The partnership's board approved the fund's creation at a recent meeting.

Growing Our Potential is funded by Government’s Local Growth Fund and is designed to support growth, increase productivity, foster innovation and create jobs.

The fund will support capital investments in the business. Cumbria LEP will provide between 10 per cent and 40 per cent of the total investment.

It is anticipated that the grants provided will be between £50,000 and £200,000.

Cumbria LEP says the application process has been designed to be as business friendly as possible.

Grants will be available to established businesses to invest in projects that can demonstrate that they have a gap in funding that could be legitimately met by public support.

Start-up businesses are not eligible.

Jim Jackson, Cumbria LEP deputy chair and chair of its investment panel, said: “I’m very pleased that we have been able to launch the Growing Our Potential Fund.

“This is a Cumbria-wide offer to support SMEs in delivering capital investments that will help them grow and create and/or safeguard private sector jobs.

“It is also intended to help improve productivity levels and rates of innovation, and so support the delivery of Cumbria’s Local Industrial Strategy.

“We expect the fund to support between 20 to 25 SMEs, lever in at least £3.7 million of private sector investment and support the creation of 100 extra well paid jobs.”

Jake Berry, Northern Powerhouse minister, added: said: “This programme will support entrepreneurs from across Cumbria with fantastic ideas to grow their businesses and create more high-quality jobs.”

All projects will need to be completed by December 31.

For more information, email corinne.watson@thecumbrialep.co.uk or call 01768 212858.