YOUNG entrepreneurs hoping to start a business could be given a helping hand with a start-up grant.

The Westmorland Gazette has joined forces with The Prince’s Trust to offer a potential 60 grants to the North West’s businessmen and women of the future.

The Gannett Foundation, the charitable arm of Gannett Co Inc which owns the Newsquest Media Group, to which the Gazette belongs, wants to give entrepreneurs a step on the business ladder.

The grants will be available to young people including areas covered by Newsquest’s titles The Westmorland Gazette, The Lancashire Telegraph, The Bolton News, The Bury Times and The Warrington Guardian series.

Around one in five young people in the UK are not in work, education or training. Youth unemployment costs the UK economy £10 million a day in lost productivity, while youth crime costs £1 billion every year.

The Prince’s Trust helps disadvantaged young people to get their lives back on track and boost their skills for work. Three-in-four of the young people it supports move into work, education or training.

It has helped more than 700,000 people and supports 100 more each day. Its business start-up programme began in 1983 in the aftermath of riots in English cities including Liverpool and Manchester.

Since then, it has helped over 70,000 young people to set up in business. In 2010, it was renamed The Enterprise Programme and expanded to include a four-day course on starting a business.

The Gannett Foundation is the charitable arm of Gannett Co Inc, owner of the Newsquest Media Group, one of the UK's largest publishers. The foundation provides funding to support local organisations in the area where Newsquest operates in the UK. The Quartet Community Foundation, on behalf of the Gannett Foundation and Newsquest, manages the fund.

Newsquest, through the foundation, has provided funding to The Prince’s Trust Enterprise Programme to enable the trust to provide a potential 60 start-up grants to young people in the North West.

This funding will help create the next generation of entrepreneurs in the areas where our newspapers are based.

Kevin Young, group editor, The Westmorland Gazette, said: “We support and encourage business through the newspaper, especially new ventures set up by young people, and we strongly urge people to consider this programme if they are thinking about starting a business. It has the potential to transform young lives.”

The Enterprise Programme is for young people who have a business idea they want help to explore, are aged 18-30 and are unemployed or working less than 16 hours a week.

On the four-day intensive course they will receive advice on self-employment, assistance with business planning and business skills training.

Young people who still want to explore their business idea after the four day course will apply for start-up loan funding. If successful they will receive a low interest loan, ongoing support from a personal business mentor for a minimum of two years, and access to specialist support including a free legal helpline.

For further details call 0800 842 842 .

* Applicants will need to attend an information session. Participation in the enterprise programme does not guarantee start-up funding will be awarded. Applications for start-up funding are assessed in relation to a number of factors including perceived risk, business viability and individual need. Gap-year students, graduates who have graduated within less than six months or those with postgraduate degrees or professional qualification cannot apply.