The Marches Growth Hub has launched a £10 million Growth Challenge to businesses across the region to help fire up the economy.

The Hub said there is a £10 million pot of business funding available to drive growth and create jobs and is now urging companies and entrepreneurs across the region to apply.

Paul Hinkins, Marches Growth Hub chairman, said: "The Marches has a rich heritage of business success and a thriving economy and with the help of this funding we can make it even better.

"This support, which includes both grants and loans, can act as a real catalyst to help launch businesses, kickstart growth, create jobs and boost the economy for all our communities.

"The Marches Local Enterprise Partnership has set some ambitious targets for the region's growth over the next 20 years and we want to use this funding to help business to innovate into new sectors, drive up skills, boost wealth and create one of the best places to live anywhere in the UK

"That is why we are today challenging businesses across our region to take up our offer, get in touch and see how we can help them grow and prosper."

Mr Hinkins said there was a wide range of schemes under which businesses could receive support and it could sometimes be daunting for a company to know where to start.

The funding comes from the EU's European Regional Development Fund and the Government-backed Midlands Engine Investment Fund.

Coun Trish Marsh, cabinet member for environment, economy and skills at Herefordshire Council, said: "The launch of the £10m Growth Challenge is excellent news for businesses in Herefordshire.

"It can be difficult for small and medium businesses to prosper in an uncertain economic climate, but by applying for funding, our hardworking and innovative local businesses can help to create new jobs, improve our local skills base, and boost the economy of our whole region."