A FUNDING scheme which aims to increase start-up companies across the North-East could create 190 jobs after securing £1.9m funding.

The Redcar and Cleveland Enterprise Team hopes to support about 180 new businesses after receiving a grant from the European Regional Development Fund.

The team was set up in 2010 to help people set up their own companies, and has already mentored more than 150 firms, including a surfing school, catering and photography businesses, and a window tinting specialist who worked on anti-terrorist security at the London Olympic Games.

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It hopes the project will put more than £60m back into the North-East economy over the next 10 years, and the team will continue helping existing small and medium-sized firms and self-starters with book-keeping, marketing and management advice.

Paul McQuade, from Redcar, runs Glare Guard Window Films, in Riverside Park Industrial Estate, Middlesbrough, and was helped by enterprise funding after he was made redundant.

Mr McQuade, who supplies tinting for windows, worked on anti-bomb blast films for windows for Olympics organisers and said the support he received from the enterprise team played a key role in his success.

He said: “The team told me absolutely everything I needed to know, with lots of advice on websites, marketing and other aspects of business and they are always there on the phone if I need help.

“The Olympics job came about through a company I do sub-contracting work for and it was interesting to do something different for such a big event.”

Councillor Mark Hannon, cabinet member for economic development at Redcar and Cleveland Council, said the project would make a big difference to North-East businesses and its economy.

He said: “The team has done a fantastic job in nurturing new businesses and people have risen to the challenge and more than proved their enterprising spirit.

“This scheme is so valuable and allows residents to shape their own futures, create their own wealth, and create jobs for others.

“A Government report a number of years ago showed that the area had one of the lowest rates of start-up businesses.

“The resulting cash injection into the North-East's economy is quite significant, which is why it is important this work continues.”