West Midlands businesses can now bid for a share of a £200 million funding pot in what is the final round of the Regional Growth Fund (RGF) before the next general election.

Round six of the Coalition Government's flagship economic stimulus package has opened and follows on from £410 million worth of investment in the region from the first five rounds.

That funding has supported 63 projects and programmes across the region, to create and safeguard thousands of jobs and stimulate £3.2 billion of private sector investment, according to the Government.

The RGF was introduced following the disbandment of regional development agencies, such as Advantage West Midlands, to support projects which create jobs and growth on a local level.

However, the fund's pot is far smaller than the capital which RDAs had at their disposal to support projects.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: "The Regional Growth Fund is a helping hand from Government to create thousands of jobs that last, boost the private sector and rebalance the economy.

"I've seen first hand at businesses across the country how the fund is supporting businesses that are working hard to fuel our recovery and help us build a stronger economy.

"I would encourage any businesses that can generate significant private sector investment and sustainable jobs to bid for a share of the £200 million available from the fund."

Earlier this year, the Government awarded £31 million to eight projects in the region including £5 million to the Birmingham Post and Bournville College to distribute to companies throughout the region.

Round six will be open to private sector bidders seeking £1 million or more and the deadline for submissions in September 30.

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