Chamber News

Innovation Grant Mentoring Project

Innovation Grant Mentoring Project

A new programme is launching in Norfolk & Suffolk to help owners of small to medium sized businesses to apply for innovation grants to support their business.

On Thursday 26 November at 6pm, leaders from both County Councils will launch a new grant mentoring and bid writing support scheme to help businesses in Norfolk and Suffolk develop skills in writing stronger bids to access money from a variety of innovation grant funding and related schemes.  East of England businesses have been awarded £638m of Innovate UK funding in the last 15 years. But of this total, Norfolk and Suffolk businesses have received just £45.9m, which equates to 7.2%. These startling stats have led Norfolk & Suffolk County Councils to join forces and devise a programme to help local businesses access a significantly higher percentage of the available funding.

Cllr Graham Plant, Deputy Leader at Norfolk County Council said: “Companies in Norfolk & Suffolk deserve to access more funding for innovation projects to help our businesses to grow. Central government agencies have millions of pounds of grant money available for innovation projects across all industry sectors, from Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) to farming, energy to exercise, services to shopping. Our joint ambition is that via our new mentoring scheme, Norfolk and Suffolk based businesses will leverage up to £3m of additional innovation funding into our neighbouring counties’ economies over the coming two years.” 

Cllr Nick Gowrley, Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Enterprise at Suffolk County Council said: “Both councils understand that the current economic climate is tough for many businesses. We believe that innovation is at the very heart of delivering business growth, yet the costs associated can sometimes be insurmountable for small to medium organisations. This new, free mentoring scheme will empower Norfolk and Suffolk businesses to better understand innovation opportunities and to write better, stronger bid applications to access grant funding streams. With the help of more funding, innovation will flourish, businesses will grow, and more jobs will be created across the East.”

Chris Starkie, CEO at New Anglia LEP said: “For many business owners, writing a well thought out grant application to catch attention, fulfil funding criteria and achieve success can seem like a series of hoops to jump through, especially when they might not have such specialist writing skills in-house. This mentoring scheme aims to teach those skills via a range of training options, from bid writing workshops to one to one mentoring sessions. And the scheme is open to all SME businesses, whether they have tried to access funding before or not.”

Any small to medium sized business owner or manager, including micro business owners and sole traders, is invited to attend the online launch meeting to find out more. Attendees will meet professional mentors and hear from a business that’s already benefitted from innovation funding. Log on to Eventbrite at 6pm on Thursday 26 November.

Article by Suffolk Chamber