People have 19 days to apply to fund to help create jobs in South Cumbria.

Demand has been high for the £500,000 GSK Enterprise Fund, said its co-ordinator, and it has already seen 16 applications for grants totalling £763,000, to unlock projects worth £3.2m.

The fund, launched in May, provides grants of between £2,000 and £100,000 to meet up to 30 of the cost of projects that create permanent employment.

The pharmaceutical company is providing the scheme to mitigate the impact of job losses at its Ulverston site.

Cumbria Business Growth Hub operates the grant scheme.

Suzanne Caldwell, deputy chief executive of Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, the lead partner in the Growth Hub, said: “We’ve seen some really strong proposals already.

"Our grants panel met last week to consider the first expressions of interest. Of the 16 we reviewed, half are working with us to explore the package of funding options and potentially progressing to full applications for all or part of their ask.”

The scheme will continue until the money provided by GSK has been exhausted.

Suzanne added: “The next deadline for expressions of interest is July 30. I’d encourage any business interested to move quickly before all the funding is allocated.”

The grants are open to businesses across much of South Cumbria. Any size of business can apply including start-ups and social enterprises.

The two-stage application involves an initial expression of interest – to ensure the proposal meets the scheme’s criteria – and then a formal submission.

Projects that create high-value, sustainable, jobs – and those that might not go ahead without a grant – will get priority.

Growth Hub advisers can help applicants put together their proposals and provide wider support to implement their plans.

For more information, call 0844 2578450.