Free innovation advice & growth grants of up to £25k

Through the Ready, Set, Go initiative regional enterprise agency Nwes can provide funded business advice and grants of up to £25,000 to help businesses in Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Essex to develop or introduce new products, processes and ideas.

And CEO Kevin Horne believes it is more important than ever for existing businesses to access free advice and grants on growth and innovation.

He explained: “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.”

The free advice is available for businesses employing anything from one to 250 members of staff. Expert advisors provide the core knowledge, skills and motivation to help businesses put innovation and growth plans in place. Easy-to-access grants are available to help bring the plans to fruition by either covering a quarter of the investment required or £25,000 of the eligible costs, whichever is lower.

Kevin, 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.”