Grants scheme is beginning to pay off

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More than 75 jobs have been safeguarded and a further 10 created thanks to a new business grant scheme.

Over £25,000 in funding has already been awarded by Falkirk Council since launching the initiative last October.

The local authority brought business support services in-house at that time and now provides help in different forms, including free advice and training, to companies of all sizes across the district through its Growth and Investment Unit.

The grants will part-fund small business investments which may otherwise be difficult to carry out in the current economic climate.

This week, members of the economic strategy and development committee heard how the grants were helping to sustain local businesses.

Peter Reid, the Growth and Investment Unit manager, said: “The scheme is designed to be an incentive and a confidence-booster to help small business owners bring forward viable investment plans which can help them establish or grown their businesses.”

Grants range from £500 to £3000 per business and councillors heard they had helped with a diverse range of activities, including:

lShowroom refurbishment for a printing equipment supplier.

lReplacement furnace for a foundry.

lDevelopment of a website for a craft goods manufacturer.

lInvestment in an embroidery machine and refurbishment of premises for a sports wholesaler.

The nine awards already made have brought an estimated £405,000 improvement to company turnover and private sector investment of nearly £137,000.

Councillor Dennis Goldie, economic strategy convener, said: “The business grant scheme is helping local businesses to become even more successful in their operations.

“The awards are relatively small, however they are having a big effect. Now we’re keen to see other local businesses apply.

“It justifies the decision to bring this service in-house.”

Firms have to meet a number of criteria before being considered for the grant, including the level of turnover, employment numbers and the cost of the proposed project.

More information is available from www.falkirk.gov.uk/businessgrants or by contacting the unit on (01324) 590960.