Business entrepreneurs emerging from West Midlands universities will continue to be able to access support to get a new business venture off the ground after a £4 million boost.

The funding will allow for the second phase of the SPEED WM programme, called SPEED Plus, which will provide 600 graduates and students with the opportunity to access tailored advice and support focussed on how to get a business idea off the ground.

The programme is supported by just over £2 million from the European Regional Development Fund, which is managed by the Department for Communities and Local Government and matched by five West Midlands universities – the University of Wolverhampton, Birmingham City University, Coventry University, Keele University and Staffordshire University.

Communities Minister Baroness Hanham CBE said: "Retaining graduates and the valuable skills they hold, by helping them to take forward creative entrepreneurial business ideas is really important for the future of the local economy. It is vital that we are able to recognise the success of support programmes such as this and offer additional funding to ensure they continue for the benefit of future graduates and students.

"We are looking for future entrepreneurs with great business ideas to come forward and size the opportunities that this project provides, helping to bring their ideas to life and turn them into profitable new businesses."

SPEED WM which was originally launched in 2009, has proved to be a valuable support service, helping 562 graduates and students explore and take forward enterprise ideas over the last three years.