New programme, Ascend, will support up to 40 local businesses over the next two years and aims to create over 500 jobs. To be eligible, applicants should be based within seven and a half miles of Derby city centre and commit to creating jobs for Derby residents, graduates, or students. Ascend is part of the city’s coronavirus economic recovery strategy and is being run by Derby City Council alongside the University of Derby.

Businesses chosen to participate in the programme will be able to access bespoke support and advice, aimed at helping them to develop and implement business growth strategies. Support is available for three key areas; growth readiness, investment readiness, and growth projects.

The Derby economic recovery strategy, of which Ascend is a part, has three core aims – to stimulate business and investor confidence in the city, diversify the local economy and enable decarbonisation. Other major initiatives within the city’s economic recovery strategy include:

• Supporting the development of the £300 million SmartParc food campus on the former Celanese site, near Spondon, which will create up to 5,000 jobs;

• Developing a new 3,500-capacity city centre performance venue as part of the £200 million redevelopment of the Becketwell area by Leeds-based St James Securities, in a scheme which will create more than 2,000 jobs;

• Declaring the city’s ambition to be a centre for future fuels technology and supporting the establishment of a new £15 million Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre at Infinity Park;

• Creating the innovative Derby Market Place al fresco dining experience – and subsequently a temporary performance space – to support local businesses.

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