From engineering and marine companies to marketing agencies and food producers, businesses have shared in £32.5m of grants over the lifetime of New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership’s Growing Business Fund.
The panel which awards the grants of between £25,000 and £250,000 to help businesses grow and create jobs held its last meeting on 19 January at Center Parcs, Thetford, marking the end of a scheme which has supported 308 projects across Norfolk and Suffolk.
Its first ever recipient in March 2013 was Traditional Norfolk Poultry at Shropham, which was awarded £55,899. Since then, it has awarded £32.5m in grants, generating £249.9m in match funding and creating 3,450 jobs.
One of New Anglia LEP’s most successful and flagship initiatives with job creation at its heart, the Growing Business Fund has provided capital grants direct to businesses from micro firms with fewer than 10 employees to medium-sized companies with up to 250 staff. The grant represents up to 20 per cent of the planned expansion costs and must create one job for every £10,000 awarded.
Chris Dashper, Head of Programmes for New Anglia LEP, said: “The success of the Growing Business Fund Panel has been due to its skill and expertise, the continuity of its membership and the impartiality it has maintained throughout the period the scheme has been running. I would like to thank them for the time and dedication they have given to the scheme and particularly thank Mike Burrows for his long service as chair.”
Chris Starkie, chief executive of New Anglia LEP, said: “This scheme was set up to drive business growth and create jobs and it has done that and more across a diverse range of sectors. As well as enabling SMEs in our area to thrive and fulfil their ambitions, it has helped them unlock further private investment which would not been possible without our financial support.
“I feel incredibly proud of what it has achieved over the past nine years, and I would like to thank everyone who has helped administer and award these grants.”