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Cumbria Accelerator Westmorland & Furness

Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership has extended its Cumbria Accelerator service and is running a Westmorland and Furness focused programme to support aspiring entrepreneurs to develop their business ideas and innovations alongside provision of advice to existing businesses to identify opportunities to expand, grow and improve productivity and profits.

The £1.6m programme is supporting 450 local entrepreneurs at various stages of their start-up journey, by offering free, one to one business advice with an experienced advisor, to help to explore opportunities to start new businesses, with a wider view to increase the number of sustainable new businesses in the local area.

The support will allow for 225 new businesses to be created, opening up the programme to offer small grants of up to £500 to help these business to realise their ambitions and develop further during their early days.

Additionally, 413 existing SMEs are being assisted to help overcome challenges, become more competitive and resilient and to consider opportunities for growth, whether this be to expand into new markets, adopt new innovations and ways of working, cut business costs or improve marketing campaigns to grow their customer base.

Since the programme launched in late 2023, 69 existing businesses have already been awarded grants of up to £20,000 helping to fund activities to boost business growth. These projects are helping to both protect existing jobs and create a number of new roles too.

The programme also has support to boost businesses which are looking to get involved in local supply chains, to benefit from the significant investment coming to Cumbria through big businesses such as BAE Systems at Barrow-in-Furness.

The programme runs until the end of January 2025 and any individuals thinking of starting a new business or existing businesses that want to access support should contact the Programme Manager, Leslie Rickerby, at to start their support journey.

The ‘Comprehensive Business Support, Start-Up and Support Programme’ forms part of the wider Cumbria Accelerator programme and has been awarded £1,630,000 through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

More details on the activities which businesses can access are below:

  • Cumbria Accelerator Start-Up’ service aims to help 225 people from Westmorland & Furness to start a new business by the end of January 2025. Cumbria LEP is working with a range of delivery partners to offer advice, support and the opportunity to receive £500 to put towards a new business venture.
  • Cumbria Accelerator Driving Innovation’ is a brand-new service, focused on supporting existing businesses in Westmorland & Furness to develop new products or services or to embrace new innovative practices to drive them forward. Support is available to 70 businesses with innovation potential and is fully-funded through programmes of activity which will deliver into early 2025.
  • Cumbria LEP is also supporting the Regional Supply Chain Network by funding supply chain expert Emma-Jayne Gooch to work with businesses to help them develop their abilities to win work with larger businesses.
  • Up to 12 hours of expert advice is available through Cumbria LEP partners who are able to offer 1-2-1 advice sessions to help businesses across Westmorland & Furness to grow, whether that be through finding new customers, cutting their overheads or improving overall productivity.

To enquire about support for your business please contact

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund is a central pillar of the UK government’s Levelling Up agenda and provides £2.6 billion of funding for local investment by March 2025. The Fund aims to improve pride in place and increase life chances across the UK investing in communities and place, supporting local business, and people and skills.

For more information, visit

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