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East Anglia: Suffolk Chamber and New Anglia LEP join forces to deliver growth hub

12:45 21 January 2014

Peter Funnell, president of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce.

Peter Funnell, president of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce.

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The New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership and Suffolk Chamber will be helping to support at least 1,000 businesses, and create 200 business start-ups and 200 new jobs, after securing £3.9million of Regional Growth Funding as part of the Ipswich and Norwich City Deals.

Funding will be used to create a Growth Hub for Greater Ipswich and Greater Norwich, which will provide Norfolk and Suffolk businesses with a “no wrong door” route for accessing business support.

Suffolk Chamber of Commerce will be responsible for the management of the Growth Hub, with other elements provided by enterprise agencies NWES, MENTA, Finance East, University of East Anglia, University Campus Suffolk and Norwich University for the Arts.

Through the Growth Hubs, businesses will have greater and simpler access to national and local business support, as well as access to several new business support programmes, including:

: : Early Stage Grant Scheme: Providing grants between £5k-£50k for businesses in first year of trading, to help them grow and employ people;

: : Innovation Readiness Programme: Two dedicated coordinators to help businesses apply to innovation programmes and draw down higher levels of funding to support their growth;

: : Innovation Vouchers: Allowing companies to purchase expertise at reduced cost from regional universities to access specialist facilities, mentoring, internships and consultancy or a combination of the above; and

: : Business Start-up Programme: Expanding support for business start-up through dedicated support, to increase the number of new businesses.

“The main barrier to SMEs taking up business advice and support is that the business community often finds the current landscape complex, opaque and difficult to engage with,” said Dr Peter Funnell, president of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce. “The Chamber and our partners including NWES, Menta, Enterprise Hub, FSB and IoD, will introduce a ‘no wrong door’ service that will improve access and at the same time broaden the range of services on offer.”

“We know that business support is complex and often businesses aren’t able to find the help and support they require,” added Andy Wood, chairman of the New Anglia LEP.

“Our aim is to break down the barriers caused by this uncertainty and guide businesses to help and support to enable them grow to their full potential. This is the grass rooted support that businesses in Suffolk need and we are delighted to be leading such an exciting initiative working with our key partners.”

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