A FUND that has invested $6 million into Gladstone since 2002 turned its focus to new business and entrepreneurs this year.
There were 35 applications for Rio Tinto's Community Fund program Here for Business this year, which offers no interest microfinance loans and business coaching.
Eight businesses were chosen to participate, two of which - Tigger's Bounce House and PK's Automotive - have graduated.
"Gladstone's business confidence and entrepreneurship continues to grow and we are proud to nurture this spirit," fund chairman and Queensland Alumina Limited general manager Mike Dunstan said. "By providing support to growing businesses we are able to foster job opportunities for the local community."
The fund is administered by an advisory board comprised of local business and community leaders.