Local businesses to benefit from new £22m+ investment initiative

A successful new bid to the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) by the University of East Anglia (UEA) and Norfolk County Council (NCC) will see at least £22 million invested in small and medium-sized businesses across the East of England.

This new programme, which was already in development before the Coronavirus outbreak, will invest in businesses developing products and services which will have a beneficial environmental impact.

Operated by the University of East Anglia, supported by Norfolk County Council and managed by cleantech merchant bank Turquoise, the Low Carbon Innovation Fund 2 (LCIF2) will invest in SMEs across the New Anglia, Greater Cambridgeshire and Peterborough and Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnerships.  Investments will range from £25,000 up to £1 million for a variety of early and growth stage businesses from a range of different sectors.

The Fund is looking to invest in a wide range of businesses making an impact on greenhouse gas reduction, either through the development of technologies, products and services.

The fund will assess suitable investment opportunities on a case-by-case basis, investing £11m of public funds from the ERDF, and helping to mobilise at least the same amount in matching private co-investment. At a time when many other early stage investors may be holding back from making new investments Low Carbon Innovation Fund is open for business and welcomes new applications.

The first three investments have just been approved into businesses developing paper based packaging, electric vehicle range efficiency software and fast-recharge technology. Further details of these innovative technologies will be announced soon.

Cllr Graham Plant, Deputy Leader of Norfolk County Council and Cabinet Member for Growing the Economy, said: “Working together to enable this important fund to be made available across the East of England will enhance the region’s position as a leader in low carbon innovation. Climate change could have a major impact on Norfolk, and we are keen to do anything we can to mitigate the risks.”

LCIF2’s Fund Manager, Turquoise, has a strong track record in Energy, Environment and Efficiency ventures, having previously acted as fund manager for the first Low Carbon Innovation Fund initiative (LCIF1).  LCIF1 invested £21 million alongside £55m of private co-investment in the region between 2011 and 2015, helping make the region one of the most active cleantech venture areas in the country.

Ali Naini, Managing Director of Turquoise, said: “The original LCIF initiative demonstrated the rich variety of world-class clean technologies being developed in this region. It also proved the benefits of providing public support to such ventures through investment rather than grants. LCIF2 is designed to extend and improve that experience for the benefit of a wider range of entrepreneurs and technologists in the region, whilst also helping Britain stay at the forefront of global developments and markets in environmental technologies.”

Anyone wishing to find out more about the fund should visit www.lowcarbonfund.co.uk.

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