HAMPSHIRE businesses are being urged to apply for a share of a £10 million pot aimed at boosting housing and job creation.

The Growing Enterprise Fund was established last year by Enterprise M3, the Local Enterprise Partnership for the M3 corridor, to kick start infrastructure projects that will drive economic growth in mid and north Hampshire and south west Surrey.

Geoff French, chairman of the Enterprise M3, said the fund is aimed at schemes “ready to go but just needs a little bit of help in getting started.”

Mr French added: “We are delighted to launch the next round of the Growing Enterprise Fund. We want to use this £10 million to fund developments that will make a real difference to our local economy. Our aim is to create more jobs and build more houses and we are looking for projects that can quickly deliver this kind of growth.”

Mr French said the sort of schemes he was looking to back include transport, utilities, broadband, flood defences, land remediation or an innovation/ enterprise centre.

The fund has already allocated funding to five successful projects and these will be delivering vital jobs and housing across the Enterprise M3 area. One of the successful projects is Activation Aldershot which Enterprise M3 is funding up to £3,175 million.

Activation Aldershot is Rushmoor’s integration plan between Wellesley, the Aldershot Urban Extension, and the town. The funding will help Rushmoor Borough Council accelerate its plans for 3,850 new homes and 500 new jobs.

Enterprise M3 covers the New Forest through Hampshire up to the M25 including major centres such as Aldershot, Winchester, Basingstoke, Woking and Guildford, an area which encompasses over 1.6 million residents and 86,000 businesses; accounting for nearly a fifth of the South East’s economic prosperity.

Local Enterprise Partnerships are business–led and work with other public sector organisations such as local authorities, in partnership, across natural economic areas. They provide the vision and strategic leadership needed to drive sustainable private sector growth and job creation in their area.