ALMOST £10million is being available to businesses through a loan scheme aimed at encouraging the creation of more jobs and homes in Dorset.

Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is relaunching its government-funded Growing Places Fund.

The £9.7m loan scheme is designed to make possible capital projects which will have a significant economic impact and can quickly deliver tangible benefits.

The fund can also be used where businesses are unable to use alternative funding mechanisms. It is aimed at viable schemes that will deliver economic growth and support Dorset LEP’s objectives.

The LEP says some of its first wave of loans have already been repaid, enabling it to relaunch the scheme and invite new applications.

Dorset LEP chair Jim Stewart said: “Successful allocation of the Growing Places Fund has already been used to unblock much-needed employment land in east, west and north Dorset, as well as support small and medium –sized businesses. We are now encouraging businesses to get in contact with Dorset LEP to see if they are eligible for a loan.”

The LEP is a business-led partnership between the private and public sector, set up with the aim of promoting local economic growth and prosperity.

It acts as a ‘gateway’ to government funding, supporting and delivering projects of long-term benefit to the county.

  • Previous recipients of Growing Places money include:

  • The Centre for Social Enterprise Excellence at the Factory, the former Remploy site in Alder Hills, Poole.

  • Bionanovate, which launches innovative brands from Mannings Heath in Poole.

  • Boscombe Regeneration, which seeks to improve housing, the environment and opportunities in the area.

  • Castle Court, a residential development helping regenerate Osprey Quay in Portland.

  • Cobham Gate, a key employment site at Ferndown Industrial Estate which was delivered with a £1.5m loan.

  • n Field International Ltd, a privately owned global engineering company on Poole’s Nuffield Industrial Estate.

  • Smarter Choices for transport at Hamworthy.

  • North Dorset Business Park at Sturminster Newton.

  • Ultrafast broadband across the county.

Applications for the loan money can be from private or public sector organisations, but must be for capital investment rather than revenue, with the loan to be repaid entirely within five years.

Businesses interested in the fund can contact programmes manager Martina Hanulova on 07925 891380, or email