A leading figure at one of the world’s biggest banks has hailed the work of a new charity set up by one of Lancashire’s leading business awards.

Ian Bakewell, Senior Investment Director at Investec, the leading specialist banking and asset management group, said the work of the new BIBAs Foundation would help inspire the entrepreneurs and business owners of the future.

The bank is among the leading figures to support the Lancashire Community Foundation which has set up the BIBAs Foundation alongside the Be Inspired Business Awards, which Investec is sponsoring this year.

Last week, the Foundation handed out more than £7,000 to four community groups to help set-up projects aimed at boosting enterprise across the county.

Ian Bakewell said: “Lancashire has a rich history of enterprise and strong business leaders which dates back to the days of the Industrial Revolution when it led the world in terms of innovation.

“This legacy has been passed down through generations and the business community of today has a duty to continue this chain for the entrepreneurs and business leaders of the future,

“The creation of the BIBAs Foundation will help to inspire young people in Lancashire to reach higher to achieve their ambitions and hopefully create the next generation of a community which will drive our economic engine.”

Steven Lancaster, executive director of The Grand Venue in Clitheroe, said he hoped the work of the BIBAs Foundation would encourage business leaders to support similar causes in their areas.

The Grand, a former BIBAs winner which is now sponsoring the awards, is another business which supports the Lancashire Community Foundation.

Mr Lancaster said: “As a member of Lancashire’s business community, I know there are thousands of talented, enthusiastic and willing people out there who could be a huge inspiration to our young people.

“It would be great to see them out working to help some of these young people achieve their ambitions.

“By setting up the Foundation, the BIBAs is aiming to create a legacy for the young people of Lancashire to benefit from, and I am delighted to see it already paying dividends.”

The BIBAs Foundation handed its first four grants to the East Lancashire Deaf Society, Hyndburn Arts Trust, Red Rose Sports Club and disabled services provider Spring into Action CIC.

All four will use the money to support projects for 16-24 year olds aimed at boosting enterprise and improving employability skills.

The Foundation is backed by £30,000 from the Be Inspired Business Awards, the BIBAs, generated by the profits of its 2014 awards which celebrate the successes of local firms and individuals.

All applicants were selected and will be supported by the Lancashire Community Foundation which is now looking for further groups seeking up to £2,000 in grants to support projects which will help create a culture of enterprise across Lancashire.

Any group wishing to apply for funding, should visit the Foundation’s website at www.lancsfoundation.org.uk for further details.