A £4m package of grant schemes and other programmes announced by New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) will benefit 2,500 businesses and deliver 4,400 hours of bespoke support.
Driving business growth, bolstering an under-pressure labour force, and attracting inward investment are among the priorities in the Business Plan unveiled by the LEP, which is being led by new Chief Executive Rosanne Wijnberg.
Developing clusters in key sectors for Norfolk and Suffolk, including the agri-food, energy, digital and the emerging space technology industry, as well as its network of Enterprise Zone sites are also key objectives.
Specific programmes and activities in the Business Plan for 2023-24 include:
• Growing Places Fund – will provide almost £2m in loan funding to help kickstart and support development projects that otherwise would have stalled or never got off the ground.
• Space East Cluster – hosted by the LEP and working closely with industry, universities, the Satellite Applications Catapult, UK Space Agency, and European Space Agency to drive new business opportunities, investment and skills in the region.
• Connected Innovation – links together 24 innovation hubs and centres, universities, research institutes and co-working spaces to develop collaboration and knowledge exchange, and promote cross-sector innovation.
• Creative East – launched to help 80 to 100 businesses in the creative industries scale up and provide urgently needed grant funding.
• New Anglia Careers Hub – comprises 136 schools across Norfolk and Suffolk and aims to support them in achieving all eight Gatsby benchmarks.
• Skills Bootcamps – a programme of courses aimed at skilling people up for sectors facing recruitment issues, such as digital, construction, logistics, health and social care, and arboriculture.
Rosanne Wijnberg said it was “business as usual” for the LEP ahead of its proposed transition into the county councils in Norfolk and Suffolk as part of devolution and there was a busy year ahead.
“We have a fully funded package of programmes and activities for this financial year and a lot of work to do. Businesses need support more than ever before and despite the tough economic conditions there are opportunities for them to invest, with continuing demand for grants.
“This year we will continue to deliver programmes via New Anglia Growth Hub such as the Small Grant Scheme, Growth Through Innovation Fund, and Scale Up New Anglia. As well as funding and advice, businesses need people, and our new series of Skills Bootcamps will ensure they can access the right skills locally.”
C-J Green, Chair of the LEP, added: “This Business Plan underlines the continuing need for the LEP and its ability to convene partners and support businesses. While this is a transition year, our hardworking team has an important year ahead delivering activities that will contribute significantly to the economic performance and future prosperity of the region.
“I am looking forward to seeing the LEP continue to have a real impact in terms of business support, inward investment and the development of our most important sectors.”
Click here to read the Business Plan in full.