Businesses in Norfolk and Suffolk are being urged to apply for grants of between £1,000 and £25,000 to invest in production, equipment and expansion before the Small Grant Scheme managed by New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) comes to an end.
Ringing in the new year, the final call coincides with the approval of the scheme’s 500th award. Since 2014, the LEP has awarded £5 million to firms supporting local development and growth and this has been matched with £21 million private investments. The grants can now cover up to 40% of a business’s total project costs.
“We’re inviting small to medium-sized businesses to contact New Anglia Growth Hub if they have a project in the pipeline to grow their company,” says the LEP’s Programmes Manager Jason Middleton.
“We’ve had a huge variety of applications over the years and recent grants were for production equipment, an online platform, vans, an industrial printer and office, a dance studio and factory refurbishments.
“We’ve just awarded our 500th grant through the scheme and are delighted to have been able to support so many small and medium-sized businesses across Norfolk and Suffolk. This funding runs out soon, so I would urge any company, including those which have benefitted from the scheme before, to apply today.”
Based in Stoke by Nayland, one of the successful applicants was Suffolk Distillery which scaled up its craft sprits production from 25 to 500 bottles a week using a new still and ancillary equipment bought with grant support. Master distiller and chemist Gary Wilkinson pursued his passion of having his own distillery after a long career as operations manager driving thousands of miles a year for a large distillery. Asked where the business would be today without the LEP grant, Gary says: “We would still be in my garage. But also, without the help of my wife Melanie, who is a director, we wouldn’t have been able to achieve this.”
Holiday operator One Traveller, based in Swaffham, Norfolk, upgraded to first-class offices preparing for growth and diversification with an £11,000 grant. Looking back on the application process, owner Ian Darkin says New Anglia Growth Hub’s business advisers provided step-by-step guidance on what was needed. Gathering information can take time, but he adds: “It’s all worthwhile because it will help expand or improve your business in some way.”
The office was originally open-plan over two levels. The upper level has been totally transformed by adding three large and spacious offices and a kitchenette. One Traveller is now once again in a position where growth is happening, and with that comes new job opportunities. “The grant has helped us achieve our goal of enhancing the work environment for the team and provided departments the privacy that they now enjoy,” says Ian.
The Small Grant Scheme is funded by the European Regional Development Fund, with support for interested businesses provided by New Anglia Growth Hub.
A team of Business Advisers can help develop your application so you can access grants between £1,000 and £25,000, covering up to 40% of your project costs. For further information, contact New Anglia Growth Hub direct via https://www.newangliagrowthhub.co.uk/contact-us/