AMBITIOUS plans which are set to reverse the trend of businesses closing their doors will result in millions of pounds being injected into Barnsley to help secure their long-term future, the Chronicle can reveal.

Two applications for the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) have been successful, with £2.5m going towards Barnsley Council’s ‘Launchpad’ scheme which is ring-fenced for start-ups and more than £5m for more established firms.

The South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority (SYMCA) - the group responsible for dividing up the government-given cash - approved both and discussed the matter last week.

Leaders hope both schemes will encourage start-ups and give a path for small firms to grow into medium-sized enterprises, after a study revealed one in five businesses fail to make it to their second year of trading and 60 per cent go bust by the third year.

According to a report, Launchpad - open to businesses with ten members of staff or less - will go towards addressing the ‘deficit’ by offering one-to-one support, while ‘productivity’ grants of up to £12,000 will be given to those who qualify thereafter as part of the £5m package.

Grants will also be offered to pay for fit-outs and shop front improvements as part of a council scheme to tackle the number of empty shops, after a vacancy rate of 13 per cent was established.

The initial funding will focus on research and engagement and years two and three will, bosses say, concentrate on move-ins.

South Yorkshire’s Mayor Oliver Coppard said: “My job is good growth, building not just a bigger economy, but a better economy.

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“Our plan sets out a new economic model, one that recognises and builds on both our history and our strengths, but also tackles the big, long-term challenges we need to overcome if we’re going deliver more jobs, more investment and good growth.”