A £20 million fund aimed at providing a lifeline to MG Rover suppliers and dealers has become active.
The fund will make loans of up to £500,000 to companies facing an uncertain future as a result of lost orders and unpaid bills following the car maker's collapse last month.
The support package was first announced by the Department of Trade and Industry 18 days ago but no money could be paid out until Advantage West Midlands completed setting up a special company to administer the fund.
The agency announced yesterday that the fund, called the Advantage Transition Bridge Fund, was now ready to receive applications for loans.
It is being administered by a company limited by guarantee run by a board of volunteers from Birmingham's professional services sector, including bankers, accountants and lawyers.
According to estimates, about 600 MG Rover suppliers are owed a total of £200 million and that up to 12,500 jobs are at risk outside of Longbridge.
Loans will be made available for up to three years to companies that show they have viable recovery plans in place but which do not have the funds to carry them out.
Paul Wheeler, former associate director of business support at Barclays Bank, has been appointed chief executive.