Suffolk’s district and borough councils (Babergh District Council, East Suffolk Council, Ipswich Borough Council, Mid Suffolk District Council, and West Suffolk Council), Suffolk County Council and New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership have partnered to invest in business support and development services, including advice to reduce carbon emissions.
By working in partnership, over £1m will be invested in Suffolk business support services from July 2023 to March 2025. The initiative has combined local authority funding of £632,047 from the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, which aims to improve pride in place and increase life chances across the UK by investing in communities and place, supporting local business, and people and skills. In addition £153,407 will come from Suffolk County Council and £300,000 from New Anglia LEP.
Suffolk’s economy is primarily composed of micro and small enterprises, accounting for 98.1 per cent of all businesses. The partners recognise that to unlock their potential, tackle challenges and significantly boost economic growth, these businesses require targeted support.
The funding will see a team of experienced business advisers from the New Anglia Growth Hub offer a free, impartial service across Suffolk. The services will be accessible to any business that is located within Suffolk, including social enterprises. There will be a range of support and advice offered, including business resilience, business growth, access to funding and marketing.
Additionally, an intensive three-month programme providing wrap-around support will be available to small and medium-sized businesses looking to scale up.
With all partners being committed to and actively supporting local areas to reduce carbon emissions, a net zero business consultancy will be established, building upon the current support offers available. The consultancy will assist Suffolk businesses in identifying what achieving net zero would mean for them, providing advice and developing action plans.
Following an open tender process, YTKO Limited has now been appointed as the new providers of business support across Suffolk under the banner of New Anglia Growth Hub, and Groundwork East has been appointed as the providers of the net zero consultancy.
This provision will complement existing business support across Suffolk from other providers to help Suffolk become one of the best places in the world to live, work, learn and succeed in business.
Bev Hurley CBE, CEO of YTKO said: “I’m delighted that YTKO will be building on our long history of supporting businesses in Suffolk. Across the UK, over 30,000 companies have benefited from our services to date, helping them solve challenges and seize new opportunities to grow their companies. Suffolk is a fantastic place to build a business, and we look forward to serving clients from across the county, from all sectors and backgrounds, to achieve their potential.”
Anna Martin-Edwards, Operations and Development Director for Groundwork East, said: “We’re thrilled to have been appointed to deliver this work. We pride ourselves on ensuring organisations understand their impact and are given the knowledge and support to reduce carbon emissions. This funding will enable our sustainability consultants to work closely with businesses across the county to determine and make real progress on their net zero goals.”
Councillor Derek Davis, cabinet member for Economic Growth at Babergh District Council, said: “By joining forces with other local authorities, we are able to provide a fantastic support programme which will benefit many businesses. I would encourage all eligible businesses to find out more.”
Councillor Toby Hammond, cabinet member for Economic Development and Transport at East Suffolk, said: “Ensuring the success and prosperity of our local businesses and enterprises is a priority we all share across the county, so it makes sense to adopt this collaborative, joined-up approach to providing support.”
Councillor Neil MacDonald, Ipswich Borough Council Leader, said: “This business support funding will help to build a thriving Ipswich that leaves no one behind. We believe that by working together with local businesses, we can achieve sustainable growth, improve the quality of life for all residents, and create a town that we can all be proud of.”
Councillor Teresa Davis, cabinet member for Thriving Towns and Rural Communities at Mid Suffolk District Council, said: “Our officers worked hard on gaining the funding from national Government. Businesses have really felt the impact in recent times, especially with energy, and I am happy we can help on a practical level. This will provide access to expertise for net zero and ensure businesses can adjust to a more digital world and all the opportunities it offers.”
Councillor Indy Wijenayaka, cabinet member for Growth at West Suffolk Council, said “I am delighted that councils in Suffolk have partnered with the LEP and adopted this unified approach to pool funding to support local businesses to survive and thrive in the area. This new support offer will help our businesses address specific challenges they face that hinder their growth. The focus on net zero is welcome news as local authorities, businesses and communities must work together to achieve a sustainable future.”
Councillor Richard Smith, cabinet member for Economic Development, Transport Strategy and Waste at Suffolk County Council, said: “I am very pleased that we are able to work together to offer such an important service. New businesses are the lifeblood of any economy and they need help to evolve and thrive. We can help them do that through this initiative and in a way that is helpful to the environment, which is of benefit to us all.”
Jason Middleton, the LEP’S Programmes Manager, said: “Along with the LEP’s own grant schemes and programmes, this funding will help to deliver projects across Suffolk that will have a real impact on local businesses, and I would encourage businesses to get in touch with the Growth Hub and speak to one of its advisors about how they can help you.”
Businesses interested in accessing the support can contact New Anglia Growth Hub via https://www.newangliagrowthhub.co.uk/contact-us/ or call 0300 333 6536. To find out more about the net zero business consultancy, businesses can visit https://carboncharter.org/ or call 01473 350370.