AN ambitious scheme to create 66 new business and 100 jobs has been launched in St Helens.
The joint project between St Helens Council and the local chamber hopes to reverse the current gloomy trend of economic downturn.
Around £100,000 has been set aside to pay for the initiative.
It will run from this month to March 2013, with match funding from the chamber.
Council leader Marie Rimmer said: “Since the government ended our funding for the Local Enterprise Growth Initiative, it has been almost impossible to support new business growth.
“The loss of LEGI means a £4.8-million slash in our funding and therefore our ability to help the local economy.
“The new programme is aimed at creating new jobs in the town and is based on a previously very successful business start up initiative run by St.Helens Chamber.
“The intention is to use this as a platform to expand the programme to 2013 and beyond. We will also use this secure more investment from European or private funds.”