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Great news for Stockport businesses and voluntary organisations this week…a new funding initiative, the Stockport Business Challenge Fund, has been launched.

This is a really exciting new scheme which invites local businesses and voluntary organisations to bid for a share of up to £330,000 in a Dragons’ Den style pitch.

The fund – created by Stockport Council – is overseen by Stockport Economic Alliance which comprises the Council and major local employers including MAN Diesel and Turbo, adidas, BT, and Jacobs Engineering. The aim is to help local businesses, groups of businesses and voluntary organisations with funding for projects which show that they benefit the Stockport’s economy.

Bids will be accepted for revenue funding of between £2,000 and £25,000 and capital funding of between £5,000 and £30,000.

The main criteria are that the funded project should have a positive impact on the local economy, should show exceptional value for money, and should have a clear plan for delivering the project with specific outputs and outcomes.

Business and voluntary organisations are invited to apply by 8th May with shortlisted applicants then being invited to a voting event on 26th June, where they will make a three minute pitch to a panel of ‘Dragons’, peers from the local business community who will vote for those bids which have the greatest economic impact, can be delivered, and will provide value for money.

Paul Lawrence, Service Director of Place Development at the Council, said: “This is an excellent new initiative, aimed at inspiring local businesses to get involved in activity that will benefit the local economy.  The voting event in June will be a great opportunity for businesses to come together, showing their support for innovative projects and taking a role in determining how the fund should be allocated.”

Wayne Jones, Senior Vice President of MAN Prime Serve and Chair of Stockport Economic Alliance, added: “I am thrilled and excited about this new funding opportunity. We’re particularly looking for projects with wow appeal and a real understanding of the needs of Stockport’s economy.”

So if you’ve always fancied facing the Dragons and you have project which meets the criteria go to  www.stockport.gov.uk/businesschallenge for the application forms and guidelines.  Twitter users can also follow #SKBusiness.

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