The University of Chichester has been awarded £5.5m from the European Union to drive economic growth in the local region.
The multimillion-pound grant from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) aims to develop businesses in the Coast to Capital Local Economic Partnership (LEP) area which covers Sussex and East Surrey.
The ERDF’s funding for the Business Hot House programme will be matched with a grant of an equal size from the LEP.
The programme will support 1,000 large and small businesses as well as 500 start-up entrepreneurs improve productivity and innovation.
The business expertise and facilities available at the university – including our new £35m Tech Park – makes us the ideal authority
– Prof Catherine Harper, University of Chichester
Prof Catherine Harper, deputy vice-chancellor of the University of Chichester, said: “We are determined to drive the economic regeneration and development of our region through innovation and by upskilling businesses and entrepreneurs in our community.
“The business expertise and facilities available at the university – including our new £35m Tech Park – makes us the ideal authority to roll out the Business Hot House project to more enterprises which will strengthen economic and social cohesion across the south of England.”
Business Hot House will support partnerships, enterprise education and start-ups with workshops, peer-to-peer groups and mentoring sessions led by academics from the university, programme bosses said.
Programme manager Gareth Sear, from the University of Chichester, said: “This is one big programme of support led by several partners – the university, specialised business support providers, and local authorities – which will provide an all-encompassing programme of expertise.”
Jonathan Sharrock, chief executive of the Coast to Capital LEP, said: “We are delighted that the Business Hot House Programme has been awarded a significant portion of the Coast to Capital LEP area’s ERDF allocation to help support the growth of small to medium sized businesses in our area.
“Our economic plan has recognised developing business support as a key strategic priority and this scheme will help local businesses and the local economy to flourish.”