The first applications to a £30,000 fund to boost enterprise among Lancashire’s young people have been received.

The Be Inspired Business Awards, one of the North West’s leading business awards, has reported strong interest for grants from its BIBAs Foundation, which it set up to create a legacy of enterprise for the county.

The Foundation has been founded as a charity by the awards and the Lancashire Community Foundation to give out grants of up to £2,000 to 16-24 year olds in the county to develop skills and expand and build businesses.

Now, a specially-appointed committee will meet to assess the applications.

Karen Morris of the Community foundation Lancashire said  the interest in the awards was evidence of the level of enterprising young people across Lancashire.

She said: “The BIBAs Foundation was launched because of the demand for funding and support from the group of young enterprising people it has been set up to award.

“The demand which it has been met with in even these early stages is evidence this demand is there which is fantastic.

“Business awards provide a spotlight to celebrate the success stories from across our community, but the BIBAs Foundation is raising the bar and building a legacy for the future.

“It would be fantastic to think one of the enterprising individuals it supports will go on to become a BIBAs winner of the future.”

The BIBAs has put £30,961 in to the opening pot for the Foundation from the net profit generated by its prize-giving ceremony last September, along with donations pledged on the night.

It has received applications from all corners of Lancashire which have already been considered by the Lancashire Community Foundation before going forward to the committee.

The funds will be distributed by the Community Foundation which is part of a national movement of community foundations which undertakes strategic grant making, facilitates philanthropy and contributes to social change in communities.

Norman Tenray President of the North & Western Lancashire chamber of Commerce, added: “It is crucial all applications which go before the Foundation’s committee have been suitably scrutinised.

“We have to ensure every penny of this vital resource is being used to support those enterprising individuals which require the support the most.

“In the Lancashire Community Foundation, we have a partner with decades of experience of working with such people.”

The initial round of interviews for this year’s BIBAs got underway last week with applicants to it the Manufacturer of the Year and Exporter of the Year categories the first to meet the judges.

All categories will now be judged by 21st May  period before organisers announce finalists who will be vying for prizes at the awards ceremony at The Blackpool Tower in September.

From June 8, the judges will go ‘on tour’ around finalists’ business premises to get a behind-the-scenes look at what makes them tick.