Government grant helps regional manufacturers to innovate

Simon Ruffles, managing director of DXB Pump & Power Picture: DXB

Simon Ruffles, managing director of DXB Pump & Power Picture: DXB - Credit: Archant

Businesses across East Anglia are making major innovations during the pandemic – thanks to government grant support.

Pegasus Welfare Solutions has come up with a plan to help give offshore workers better sanitation P

Pegasus Welfare Solutions has come up with a plan to help give offshore workers better sanitation Picture: PEGASUS WELFARE SOLUTIONS - Credit: Archant

A pumpset manufacturer in Suffolk and a patented portable toilets maker in Norfolk are among a host of companies across the two counties to scoop grants from New Anglia Local Enterprise’s (LEP) £10m Business Resilience and Recovery Scheme to help them adapt.

When coronavirus struck, DXB Pump & Power in Ipswich had £350,000 worth of orders cancelled and was left with £200,000 worth of components. Now thanks to its grant it has been able to diversify into refurbishing pumps and pump hire.

MORE – Company bosses set to benefit from free training sessions to help boost their businessesMeanwhile Pegasus Welfare Solutions (PWS) has created a Welfare Multi-Unit - a lightweight, easily hoisted sanitation unit for offshore workers which it is hoped will inspire more women to work in the sector – thanks to a grant of £25,400.

The LEP launched the scheme to help companies with short and longer-term diversification projects to get through the pandemic, offering grants of between £25,000 and £50,000.

DXB boss Simon Ruffles said the help had come at a challenging time and helped turn a potentially disastrous situation around for the company, which supplies a diverse range of sectors from agriculture to construction and oil and gas.

“The project for the supply of pumpsets had gone on hold in Sweden because of Covid and we’d had a customer cancel £350,000 worth of orders from a turnover of £1m. I had already bought the components, so we were £200,000 in cash down on a ‘work in progress’ and with no guarantee we were going to sell them,” he explained.

“I had been speaking to Robert Turnbull at New Anglia Growth Hub saying we needed some assistance and he said there was funding if we could diversify our business from just selling new pumpsets. Then the Environment Agency announced it wouldn’t be buying any more pumps, but asked if we would dismantle, refurbish and recycle seven of its largest pumpsets which had been due for replacement. That resulted in close to £700,000 worth of new business.”

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The firm now has ambitious plans for growth, and is targeting major infrastructure projects such as HS2 and Sizewell C after launching specialist pump hire business DXB Integrate.

PWS founder Dan Greeves has been able to fulfil further orders for its Welfare Multi-Unit and move from a rented barn near Fakenham to larger and more Covid-secure premises at Lenwade thanks to the LEP support.

“Offshore workplaces with no loos or sanitary provision has obviously put women off working offshore. The perception was that they add ‘unnecessary’ cost to projects,” he said.

“Our units mean fewer ladder climbs to and from CTVs (Crew Transfer Vessels) for toilets and handwashing. Transfers are cut by at least a third, increasing daily productivity by up to 18%, reducing cost and increasing value, while facilitating diversity.”

Visit to find out more about grant help available.