East Anglia: Eastern Enterprise Hub and New Anglia LEP poised to unveil “missing link” funding initiative for early-stage businesses

Speakers at the 5th Floor Club meeting, from left, New Anglia LEP chief executive Andy Wood, EE Hub

Speakers at the 5th Floor Club meeting, from left, New Anglia LEP chief executive Andy Wood, EE Hub student Rachel Harrington, EE Hub chief executive Simon Mead and EE Hub chairman Harry Berry - Credit: Archant

THE New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership and the Eastern Enterprise Hub are working on plans to create a “missing link” to provide funding for early-stage businesses.

Eastern Enterprise Hub (EE Hub) chairman Harry Berry and New Anglia chairman Andy Wood were both among the speakers at a meeting of the hub’s 5th Floor Club, which consists of experienced entrepreneurs and business leaders willing to provide mentoring support to those starting out in business.

Dr Wood emphasised the high priority New Anglia LEP placed on supporting enterprise growth across the region, and praised the hub for its contribution.

“The role of New Anglia LEP is to help East Anglia fulfill its undoubted potential,” he said. “The EE Hub is exactly the right type of organisation to support enterprise growth, underpinned by business leaders and delivering real practical support to entrepreneurs.

“It has a track record of success in creating new business through an innovative package of support and mentoring for individual entrepreneurs.”

Dr Wood disclosed that the LEP and the hub are now at “advanced stages in arranging an innovative funding mechanism, which will contribute hugely to supporting businesses being created in East Anglia”.

“This will be an important missing link in funding for early stage businesses across the region,” he added.

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It was also announced at the meeting that the hub, which is based on the Waterfront in Ipswich, has formed a new partnership with Colchester Borough Council to create a Colchester Enterprise Hub opening later in the year, alongside plans to extend its delivery programmes into Norfolk.

The EE Hub will also be providing support for businesses beyond the start-up phase through a new scale-up and business incubation package currently being developed.

Dr Wood added: “I’m delighted that the EE Hub is now extending its model of support for new enterprise across the region.”

Simon Mead, EE Hub chief executive, said: “This is a really exciting time for the EE Hub in terms of how we expand across the region. There is real synergy in what we are trying to achieve with the focus New Anglia LEP is placing on enterprise.

“Not only are we looking to grow regionally, but, also to increase the scope of the support we can offer entrepreneurs, not just through the start-up phase but as they develop, through business incubation and on-going mentoring.

“Encouraging businesses to scale-up in a sustainable way is really important to our economy as this is what will create jobs and growth.”