£1.7m of firm support

A £1.7million package of support to help new and growing businesses in Northumberland has been unveiled.

Two separate contracts are being commissioned by Arch, The Northumberland Development Company. The first will see support and advice aimed at pre-start enterprises and those in their first year of trading. The second will provide support to shops and firms that are intending to grow.

County-specific information and guidance will be available by telephone and a website, there will be workshops on the legal and practical aspects of starting a business such as business planning, financial management and tax, marketing, promotion and sales and other services will include business counselling.

The initial focus will be on urban areas, but the project will spread to cover rural areas of Northumberland.

Peter McIntyre, Managing Director of the Arch Group, said “We are taking a fresh approach to helping new and growing business enterprises in the county by making a major investment of £1.7million to March 2015.

“We firmly believe our investment will help the Northumberland economy to grow as innovative enterprises and dynamic new businesses ideas are supported to realise their potential.”

Northumberland County Council and Arch will provide half of the funds, with the balance being sought from the European Regional Development Fund.

The arms-length development company was set up by the authority to drive economic development and business growth. It brings together four subsidiary companies delivering services in housing, commercial enterprise facilities and physical regeneration. A tender process to deliver the services is under way and it is expected the package will be in place from December.