A new drive to get Corby working has been launched.
By the end of 2015 the £1.1m venture aims to create 140 jobs, attract 60 firms to the town, help launch 90 companies and support another 200 businesses.
About 90 representatives of companies and people hoping to set up their own enterprises attended the launch of the Growing Corby business growth programme at the Best Western Rockingham Forest Hotel.
Backed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), it will help local businesses, social enterprises and companies interested in moving to Corby to grow and thrive.
The programme will offer grants, internships, coaching, expert advice and targeted market research.
Nick Bolton, founder of Electric Corby, the organisation managing the programme, said: “Corby is 10 years into a visionary regeneration programme that will see the town’s population double in size to 100,000 by 2031 and the launch of Growing Corby has been timed to support the next phase of this growth.
“We will work with existing businesses and social enterprises and offer the necessary support to encourage new businesses to move to this future-focused town.
“Corby is increasingly regarded as a regional and national economic centre and Growing Corby is positioned to be at the very heart of this.”
Of the £1.1m available for the scheme, £250,000 will be for grants of £2,500 to help up to 10 companies a month.
Mr Bolton said: “The applications for cash will be determined by a panel. They amounts may seem small but the grants will make a big difference to businesses wanting to expand.”
In addition to Electric Corby, other Growing Corby partners include Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership (NEP), the borough council, The University of Northampton and ANGLE, which runs Corby Enterprise Centre.
Its programme of business support includes free internships for small to medium-sized enterprises in the form of a dedicated student from The University of Northampton who will spend up to three months helping businesses improve performance and efficiency.
It will also offer market insight and intelligence research and reports for start-ups and established businesses to access markets and improve performance.
There will be social enterprise support, in partnership with Enterprise Solutions Northamptonshire, in the form of a tailored coaching programme to help start or grow a social or co-operative business.
Creativity and innovation coaching will also be available to help businesses access new markets or launch new products and services.
Leader of Corby Council, Cllr Tom Beattie, said: “With the recent job losses announced from the closure of one of our largest employers here in Corby it is vital that we continue to pull in investment, create new businesses and subsequently new jobs for our residents.
“The Growing Corby growth programme will help and encourage more businesses to move to Corby and clearly highlights the emphasis and vision surrounding economic development that all partners share.”