BUSINESSES that want to improve their online offering can now take advantage of £250,000 that has been made available through the Investment for Growth fund.
A share of the £250,000 is available to the first 75 eligible businesses needing funds for website design and development.
Delivered by the Investment Centre, the Investment for Growth fund helps businesses by providing finance for development and growth projects.
To be eligible, businesses must be based in the North East, provide a business-to-business product or service, and have a website project valued between £3,750 and £10,000.
One business already benefiting from the Investment for Growth fund is Sunderland based Drop Your Hat.
Drop Your Hat is a web-based and mobile app business developed by Helen James to offer last-minute savings to shoppers in Sunderland and South Shields.
Helen, 37, came up with the idea for Drop Your Hat whilst living in Argentina.
She said: “I would see coachloads of tourists all pile into one restaurant while all the other restaurants were left with empty tables.
“Drop Your Hat allows businesses to offer last-minute discounts when bookings or orders are low. Businesses pay a monthly subscription to post deals and users receive offers from businesses they know.”
Investment for Growth provided 30% of the funding needed to help Helen develop the technology behind the app which is available on android and iPhone platforms.
Launched just two months ago the app already has thousands of subscribers and now Helen has her sights set on expanding and launching it in Newcastle and Middlesbrough.
Helen heard about Investment for Growth at a networking event, she said: “Applying for support from Investment for Growth was a very slick and easy process.
“My personal adviser was able to answer all my questions and kept me updated on my application. When I found out I had been accepted for funding it was fantastic news.”
The £250,000 fund for website design has been made available to businesses through the European Regional Development Fund backed scheme.
It is part of the £4.9m Investment for Growth fund.
Investment for Growth has so far helped over 180 North East businesses access grants worth over £700,000 to help finance a variety of projects.
Grants of up to 40% of the total project value are available to firms in the North East wanting to put into place business development projects that will secure jobs and help them grow.
Tracey Watson, senior project manager, said: “The fund is here to help the region's business community and we've already seen a lot of interest.
“Every eligible business which gets in touch will be assigned a dedicated advisor who will work with them through the process.
“The team of advisers is incredibly experienced and well-placed to offer guidance and invaluable advice, but funds are limited so the need to apply is urgent.”
To be eligible, businesses must be based in the North East and provide a business-to-business product or service.
To find out about Investment for Growth call 0191 426 6408 or email email@example.com