A SUPPORT fund for struggling businesses in South Cambridgeshire has received a £20,000 top-up.

A SUPPORT fund for struggling businesses in South Cambridgeshire has received a £20,000 top-up.

A South Cambridgeshire District Council scheme issuing businesses vouchers to help them through the economic downturn has proved so successful more money has been added to the pot.

The Business Support Fund was set up by the council, in partnership with Business Link, with £50,000 set aside to help SMEs during the economic downturn. It has been so successful that the council has added a further £20,000.

It is a voucher-based scheme providing eligible firms with up to £1,000 to use towards the costs of business support or training programmes.

To be eligible, the business must be based in South Cambridgeshire district, must qualify as an SME and must be able to prove it has suffered financial hardship as a result of the recession.

Business Link runs the scheme and will give the firm a health check and work with the business to create an action plan. Vouchers of up to £1,000 can then be awarded to businesses to help them receive the specific support identified in the action plan.

Steve Clarke, partnership director for Business Link, said: “From the initial £50,000 set aside for this, 46 vouchers have been approved and issued to qualifying companies. The South Cambridgeshire Business Support Fund has helped businesses with website development, marketing assistance, training, coaching and business development.”

Those to have benefited so far include business from the manufacturing, scientific and technical and communications sectors.

Councillor Nick Wright, portfolio holder responsible for Economic Development, said: “As a business friendly authority, we’re incredibly proud of businesses in the district and we want them to be successful.

“Because we listen to and understand the challenges facing local businesses, we knew that the recession was impacting on business prospects and jobs, and were determined to do our utmost to help.”

INFORMATION: The fund is available until 31 March 2011, or until the funds run out. South Cambridgeshire businesses who fit the bill should contact Business Link on 08457 171615 or go to www.businesslink.gov.uk/east or email info@businesslinkeast.org.uk