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Last Updated: Monday, 3 July 2006, 15:42 GMT 16:42 UK
8m economic investment proposed
Scottish Enterprise sign
More than 8m is to be invested by Scottish Enterprise Borders
Proposals to spend more than 8m of development funding in the coming year have been outlined by Scottish Enterprise Borders (SEB).

Key areas identified include food and drink, adventure sports and textiles.

Significant investment is also promised in expanding business centres, encouraging business growth and a wide range of training opportunities.

SEB chief executive David Gass said that all the funds would make a "direct difference" to the area's economy.

"It is vital that every penny we spend on projects has a real and lasting impact on the area," he said.

850,000 to developing high quality business space
540,000 to encourage 230 new businesses
425,000 towards modern apprenticeships
400,000 to support companies with growth potential
300,000 for young people not in education, work or training
200,000 to boost adventure sports

"The only way we can do that is to focus on where we can make a tangible difference."

Mr Gass highlighted the need to invest in training to bridge the "skills gap" between employer needs and the workforce available.

He also said SEB would be looking to help the economy branch out into new areas alongside its traditional business base.

In addition, SEB will be responsible for Scottish Enterprise's national textiles team and rural group.

Scottish Textiles has a budget of 500,000 to work alongside industry to identify areas that require support to ensure the industry remains competitive.

SEB chairman Hugh Tasker said the operating plan would provide the "main drivers" for economic growth in the Scottish Borders.

He added that it demonstrated its commitment to investing in areas that give the region the biggest return on investment.

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