Bradford has 'won the gold medal' in securing £21 million to create hundreds of jobs and new businesses.

The Council was chosen from stiff competition to get £21.4 million from the government over the next three years to kick-start new businesses.

Bradford is the only local authority in Yorkshire and the Humber to get the cash out of 15 shortlisted from 88 eligible councils for Local Enterprise Growth Initiative funding, and Coun Simon Cooke, executive member for Regeneration, said it was a "massive win for the district."

He said: "It is the equivalent of winning team gold at the Olympics. Everyone can see the potential and ambition of young people here. The bid for funding was Council-led and our team did an excellent job.

"I also want to pay tribute to all the partners, particularly those from the private sector who are involved with regeneration. Without the business community we would not have secured this funding and without their continued involvement we cannot deliver this ambitious programme."

Each bidder was given £120,000 to see how they could encourage business start-ups and bright ideas in their area.

Bradford started a pilot project called Enterprise Island in which more than 140 budding entrepreneurs were seen by a panel and their ideas assessed, with the top 14 going on to develop their business idea.

The scheme was a winner and Bradford was chosen by the Government for the multi-million-pound cash pot.

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister decided on the successful bidders in consultation with the Treasury and the Department of Trade and Industry.

Patrick Wiggins, Bradford Council's director of regeneration and housing, said: "Enterprise Island helped identify the potential for new businesses in the district and this money will provide the funding to help generate up to 400 new businesses per year, which is what Bradford needs to have a vibrant mixed economy.

"We're delighted to receive the news that we can go ahead with our plans."

Enterprise Island helped Rowland Egege and Baljeet Singh with their business providing physical education sessions for primary schools.

Mr Egege said he was proud that Pro-Active Sport was used as part of the bid process.

"It makes me really happy to think other business ideas will get a chance to get off the ground on the back of this.

"We saw a niche for our business because primary schools don't have sports teachers. Enterprise Island helped us with ideas to make the most of the business, such as getting a secretary so we could focus on the schools."

Pro-Active Sport, based at offices at the University of Bradford, now deals with more than 30 schools.

Edward Stanners, director of J H Clissold & Son Ltd, part of the delegation which won the funding said: "This is a very exciting time for Bradford and shows that the city is back on the map. Enterprise Island was a great opportunity for those who had wanted to set up a business for years to test the water.

"New businesses were set up through Enterprise Island and this showed the panel of judges that we really meant business and how strong the partnership is in the district between business and the Council."

Gideon Seymour's business plan for a city centre comedy club, gigs and small theatre venue, alongside a restaurant also impressed the award panel.

"It's fantastic that Bradford's got the money and means that business plans such as mine and others will be able to get off the ground," he said.

Mike Cartwright, policy officer for Bradford Chamber of Commerce, said the award was 'excellent news'.

"All the hard work by the Council and our business representatives has paid off.

"Now we have to make sure that this opportunity is not wasted and that real benefits come through. It's a time of great change in the district and this is anther feather in our cap."