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Humber Local Enterprise Partnership is fast approaching the first major deadline for companies bidding for a share of its £7m-plus business development loan fund.

The final date for applications is this Friday (November 23) after which there will be eligibility checks followed by appraisals. The LEP is expecting dozens of approaches from businesses that believe loan support will enable them to go ahead with job-boosting projects that would otherwise stall.

Firms on both sides of the estuary are showing interest in the scheme that was announced last month, alongside the LEP’s Plan for theHumber, which set out the region’s competitive advantages and plans for growth.

“The indications are that there will be many excellent applications,” said Humber LEP investment board member Stephen Savage, who is a corporate partner atLincolnshirelaw firm Wilkin Chapman Grange.

“They are of a higher standard than when the scheme was first introduced and there is no doubt that its re-launch this autumn has got people talking and considering what it can do for their businesses. The scheme could greatly benefit theHumbereconomy and we are pleased at the level of interest being shown.”

Mr Savage said there was still time for firms to make bids. “Business people who are ‘ready to go’ and feel that they have a good case for a loan, but are not sure they qualify, should still come forward. Then, it will be up to the LEP to decide.

“In this round we have concentrated on a more straightforward and faster due diligence process.”

The money has been made available by the Government’s Growing Places Fund. The minimum loan is £100,000 and there is no upper limit.

Priority will be given to projects that have the potential for job creation and have planning permission and other funding in place or have available buildings or development land.  The aim is to help businesses with projects that can start or re-start quickly and unlock economic growth.

A panel of businesspeople will decide which projects are shortlisted for funding next month.

For more information call 01482 485260.