Cumbria Business Accelerator Programme

The Cumbria Accelerator service from the Local Enterprise Partnership has been extended to a focused programme of support for new entrepreneurs to start their businesses and innovations. This will run alongside support available to existing businesses to help them find ways to expand and grow.

With £1.6m of funding, the programme will support local startups at various stages of their journey, by offering free one-to-one advice to help them explore opportunities to start new businesses – with the ultimate aim of increasing the number of sustainable new businesses in the local area.

The support will allow 225 new businesses to be created by offering small grants of up to £500 to help them realise their ambitions and develop further in the early days.

On top of this, 413 existing businesses will be helped to overcome challenges, become more competitive, resilient and find opportunities to grow, whether this is expanding into new markets, adopting new innovations and ways of working, cutting costs, or improving marketing campaigns.

The programme launched at the end of 2023 and has already awarded 69 grants of up to £20,000, helping these businesses to fund activities to boost business growth. These projects are helping to protect existing jobs and create new roles too.

There is also support to boost businesses looking to get involved with local supply chains, to benefit the significant investment coming to Cumbria through big businesses like BAE Systems in Barrow in Furness.

Activities available to businesses include:

  • Cumbria Accelerator Startup – aiming to help 225 people from Westmorland and Furness to start a new business by the end of January 2025.
  • Cumbria Accelerator Driving Innovation. – fully funded support for 70 existing businesses to develop new products and services, or to embrace new innovation practices.
  • Regional Supply Chain Network – supported by Cumbria LEP to help businesses develop the ability to win work with larger businesses.
  • 12 hours of expert advice – through Cumbria LEP partners, who will offer one-to-one advice sessions to help businesses across the area to grow.

The programme will run until the end of January 2025 and anyone with a small business or thinking of starting one who would like support can get in touch with programme manager Leslie Rockery at leslie.rickerby@thecumbrialep.co.uk