The New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership has reached a major milestone in grant funding for businesses in Norfolk and Suffolk. Since its creation in 2011 the LEP has awarded more than £20m to firms across the East, from large companies to start-ups, helping create jobs, unlock private investment and generate economic growth.
The announcement was made at the LEP’s Annual General Meeting by outgoing Chairman Mark Pendlington, attending his final AGM before handing over to new Chairman Doug Field, Joint Chief Executive at East of England Co-op.
The vast majority of funding has been allocated through the LEP’s flagship programme, the Growing Business Fund, which alone has helped create more than 2,200 jobs and attract more than £96m in private investment. Further funding streams include the Small Grants scheme, Growing Places Fund and the Eastern Agri-tech Growth Initiative.
53 of those jobs have been created at Mirus Aircraft Seating in Norfolk. The firm successfully applied for a £360,000 grant from the Growing Business Fund as a new start-up in 2015, to help finance the redevelopment of their factory at Hingham. Two years later, Mirus has begun production on its launch contract to retro-fit its ‘Hawk’ seats in Air Asia’s fleet of Airbus aircraft.
Ben McGuire, Chief Operating Officer at Mirus Aircraft Seating, said: “We had the factory site and we knew we had a good product. The LEP’s funding was not only vital financially, it also gave us the credibility we needed to take the project forward and secure our first big contract. It’s fair to say the LEP’s support was crucial in getting us to where we are now.”
Chris Starkie, Managing Director of New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “We’re hugely proud of reaching the £20 million mark, but even more proud of what it means for businesses in the East and our wider economy. More than 2,200 jobs created and £96 million in private investment is making a real difference in our two counties, creating the kind of inclusive growth and improved productivity that we all want to see.”
And the message for businesses from the LEP is that further funding is available. The New Anglia Growth Hub is hosting a series of free business roadshows to offer advice and funding support to SMEs across Norfolk and Suffolk this autumn. The short sessions will give companies the opportunity to find out about funding and financial support and to speak to the Growth Hub’s team of business advisers for impartial advice.