BUSINESSES in Hampshire can take advantage of a new support service.

The Solent Growth Hub will be launched in February through Hampshire Chamber of Commerce and partners following a successful £2.5m Regional Growth Fund bid.

The hub will support companies and entrepreneurs in the region towards grant funding, training and other help.

It will offer access to national and local helplines and face-to-face advice, mentoring and coaching.

The organisation is looking for providers to set up a dedicated online portal with a range of help, including a toolkit of hub resources.

The hub is being delivered following a successful funding bid from a consortium of partners led by the University of Portsmouth.

Members included Hampshire County Council, Southampton and Portsmouth city councils, Isle of Wight Council, University of Southampton, Southampton Solent University, the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS), and UK Trade and Investment.

Denise Barlow, Hampshire Chamber of Commerce’s head of projects, said: “It can be tricky to locate the most appropriate sources of business support, whether government or private sector. Solent Growth Hub will act as a central point for small businesses and others to find out everything they need about local and national schemes, signposting them to appropriate support and helping them obtain direct advice.”

Hampshire County Council’s executive member for economy, transport and environment, Cllr Seán Woodward, said: “The landscape of support available for small businesses is complex, and the key objective of this service is to assist businesses in both better interpreting their needs and navigating their way through this landscape.

“If we can facilitate more business growth in the region, we can accelerate job creation and capitalise on the economy emerging from recession.”