A £1.5m scheme will help to create 140 jobs and 40 new businesses.
Wakefield Council bosses agreed this morning to accept European Regional Development Funding (ERDF) of £755,000 to be spent on encouraging business start-ups and supporting existing businesses.
And the scheme will be boosted by funding from the public and private sectors.
It would work by attracting investment, providing advice and creating the right sorts of jobs to match the skills of local people.
Coun Peter Box, leader of Wakefield Council, said the scheme would support 75 existing businesses, eight social enterprises and generate an extra £1m for the economy by September 2015.
He said: “The funding is great news and reinforces our ongoing commitment to boosting our local economy, skilling up the district and helping residents into much-needed employment.
“This project will look to attract entrepreneurs and inward investment to create and grow businesses, providing quality employment for local people.”
Community interest company RCP21, South Elmsall Town Council, South Kirkby and Moorthorpe Town Council and the council itself have helped to fund the project.