Rural cash boost 'will create 700 jobs in Devon and Somerset'
Funding for projects to boost the rural economy will create more than 700 jobs across Devon and Somerset, it has been claimed.
The Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership has announced how £2.9m from the Government's Rural Growth Network initiative will be distributed.
Devon will see an investment of £1m, supporting projects that expect to create 686 new jobs, boosting the economy by an anticipated £39m by providing the opportunities and infrastructure rural businesses need to grow.
The RGN money is expected to act as a catalyst, opening up additional funding for a number of existing large scale projects, allowing them to proceed.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
Successful projects include Bicton College's EaRTH Centre, where £300,000 will be invested in developing a flexible workspace for new and expanding businesses.
Opportunity Okehampton has received £150,000 towards developing the site next to Okehampton Business Centre for business expansion and growth.
Somerset will also see an investment of around £1m to continue the creation of a network of enterprise centres.
The remaining funds will be used on revenue projects throughout the two counties, details of which are still being finalised.
HotSW is one of just five LEPs selected to deliver a pilot Rural Growth Network, spearheading a national drive to encourage economic growth and enterprise in rural areas.
Tim Jones, chairman of HotSW, said: "This funding is a vital lifeline for our rural communities and economy. It represents a major commitment to achieve growth throughout Devon and Somerset and is designed to reach the most remote rural communities.
"It is vital that we enhance the enormous potential of our many rural enterprises and encourage the growth of new rural businesses.
"Improving our business productivity, supporting business growth, protecting existing employment and creating new jobs will all be assisted through this programme.
"We are determined to ensure that the interests of the rural economy are fully supported through our initiatives."
LEP board member and Devon County Councillor Will Mumford added: "This is a fantastic investment for rural Devon and Somerset – the money will help businesses overcome barriers and create new job opportunities.
"Rural areas are vital to the economy of both Devon and Somerset and it's important that we invest funding effectively to ensure economic growth."