East Anglia: NWES urges firms to apply for support and grants under Ready, Set, Go programme
PUBLISHED: 10:41 27 June 2014
Regional enterprise agency NWES is urging businesses in Suffolk and Essex to take advantage of free impartial support, and funding of up to £25,000, to help them innovate and grow.
The grants and advice are available via NWES under the Ready, Set, Go initiative which was set up last year − with part-funding from the European Regional Development Fund − to support pre-start and established businesses looking to develop or introduce new products, processes and ideas.
The free expert advice is available to businesses employing anything from one up to 250 members of staff while easy-to-access grants are available to help bring plans to fruition by covering a quarter of the investment required, up to a maximum of £25,000.
Kevin Horne, chief executive of NWES, said: “More people than ever are seeking help in getting a business up and running. We want to balance this by backing existing businesses to introduce innovative growth plans.
“This will help them to compete in a potentially more crowded market place and also boost the regional economy with continued enterprise at all levels.”
Mr Horne, who is also the chairman of the Cavendish Consortium, made up of the largest enterprise agencies across England, added: “If you don’t innovate you stagnate and you are likely to be left behind by the competition.
“You’ll no longer have the best product or service and may only be able to compete on price. This is a dangerous position to be in and is often the start of a downward spiral.
“Ideas for growth and innovation don’t have to mean reinventing the wheel. It just needs to be something new and innovative to you. The obvious things are expansion through new products and inventions. But it could also be new processes or software to improve efficiency and production capacity. These can even be taken from other industries and adapted to suit your needs.
“So many barriers to innovation have been removed and East Anglia is no longer geographically isolated. Businesses can take inspiration from local firms like Seajacks, 3Sun and Fraser Offshore Limited who have expanded from start-ups to major players using innovative communication to access expertise and to work with people around the world.
“Finding the time to grow and the fear of failure are the two of the biggest personal barriers among business owners. But using expertise will put your time to maximum effect and it is proven that those who do access support grow quicker and more profitably as a result.
“The Ready, Set, Go programme, part funded by the European Regional Development Fund, is not an unlimited pot. There is currently plenty available for businesses in the region but it is allocated on a first come basis so the sooner businesses take advantage the better.”
To find out more abour the programme, visit www.nwes.org.uk/news/innovate, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 08456 099991.