A £1MILLION fund has been launched in a bid to protect city jobs put at risk when businesses close.

The Glasgow City Council scheme, developed in partnership with Strathclyde University, will offer funding and support to entrepreneurs and existing business owners to buy an established firm.

Council leader Gordon Matheson said: "There are currently five times as many firms for sale in Glasgow than there were a decade ago and in terms of survival rates, only 30% of start-ups survive after five years compared to 95% when an existing business transfers to a new owner.

"More than 99% of businesses in Glasgow are small to medium enterprises, providing two in every three private sector jobs.

"It is crucial, therefore, that we do everything in our power to help safeguard these jobs."

Entrepreneurs and business bosses who are actively seeking to take over an operation are eligible to apply to the Glasgow Business Transfer Loan Fund.

Cash will be provided where a viable business case and feasibility study have been completed to support the transfer of a business from one owner to another which would not otherwise have happened because of lack of finance.

Buyers will also need to demonstrate that jobs will be safeguarded or the potential for growth as part of their take-over bid.

Mr Matheson added: "Busi-ness succession, whether in family or non-family firms, has the potential to make or break a company.

"Managed well, it can help a company sustain its competitive advantage. Managed badly, it has the potential to cause a business to fail in a short space of time.

"To help combat this, the Business Transfer Loan Fund also provides buyers with access to advice from legal and financial experts to ensure the success of the transfer."

The new fund, announced at the State of the City Economy conference last year, will come into operation in October.

For more information visit www.glasgow.gov.uk