Newcastle Journal helps secure £30m for North East businesses

Newcastle daily The Journal has been praised after it successfully led a campaign to secure £30m to help North East companies expand, a move that will help create and safeguard thousands of jobs in the region.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg was among those to hail the Let’s Grow campaign, which had its bid for cash from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund approved today.

The campaign was run in conjunction with Teesside-based sister title title the Evening Gazette and other local organisations.

Journal editor Brian Aitken said: “This has been a real team effort and we are delighted it has been successful.

“We look forward to inviting growing companies from across the North East to apply to the fund.”

Clegg said: “I'm delighted that The Journal has been successful in securing investment from this £1bn round of the Regional Growth Fund.

“The Journal is essential reading in Newcastle, so the paper is well placed to find the very best of the North East's small business owners looking to grow their firms.”

The £30m will be used over a three-year campaign to provide grants worth £50,000-£1m on a quarterly basis to local companies, with small and medium-sized firms being the main focus.

It is hoped the scheme, to be launched next year, will create or safeguard 3,500 jobs and pull in £120m of private sector investment.

Ross Smith, policy director at the North East Chamber of Commerce, said: “The Journal has led the way yet again in pulling together a really innovative bid, which will make sure the Regional Growth Fund can be applied around a series of smaller business with exciting potential for growth.”

Sarah Green, regional director of the CBI, added: “This is a great example of the convening power of the regional media, bringing together and acting as a collective to secure critical growth funding for regional business creating new jobs and business investment.”

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