Providing virtual support to aid business growth

An innovation and business hub based in Stowmarket has introduced a brand new LEP funded initiative to help regional innovation prosper during the current challenging times.

Published in Suffolk Director Magazine Autumn/Winter 2020
Providing virtual support to aid business growth 1

Supported by Mid Suffolk District Council, Innovation Labs launched in November 2019 with the aim of fostering innovation, entrepreneurship, and business growth. It offers a completely unique blend of world leading support, advice, and facilities, and is an exciting step towards the development of an innovation cluster in Stowmarket.

Free virtual memberships available

For a limited time, Innovation Labs is offering East Anglian start-up companies the opportunity to apply for 25 free virtual memberships for 12 months. Each virtual membership includes exclusive benefits such as high-level mentoring, access to funding advice, business and innovation training sessions, support for business plan development and business networking assistance.

Until 27th November 2020, interested parties can apply to, by submitting a 200 word entry outlining their business innovation concept and why they should be awarded an Innovation Labs Virtual Membership. Each application will be assessed by the founders of Innovation Labs: Peter Brady, CEO of digital technology company, Orbital Global, Peter Basford, founder and CEO of Business Growth Coaches Network, and Hermione Way, Brand Consultant and former Head of European Communications for Tinder.

As Peter Brady explained: “The pandemic has made many people assess their career aspirations. This initiative is a great opportunity for those who have long considered developing an innovative idea, but lacked the know-how, funds, or confidence to take it further. Our virtual memberships provide a unique blend of world leading support, advice, and skills, at a time when start-ups need them most.”

Tim Robinson, COO at TechEast, added: “When many people will be considering starting their first innovative business, but finding it harder to make the right connections, this new programme from Innovation Labs will plug them in to an array of tailored support.”

Chris Starkie, Chief Executive of the LEP, said: “Norfolk and Suffolk have established an excellent reputation for innovation, and supporting start-ups and fostering business growth, especially in such a challenging climate, will be vital to the recovery effort over the coming months.”

Offering support to aid business growth

A member of Innovation Labs since March, Geraint Thomas is Technology Partner at 3 Points Digital where he is a digital transformation specialist focusing on social care. Innovation Labs has been instrumental in the success of his start-up business; so much so that after three and a half months, he was approached by a company wanting to merge. He decided to sell and is now the owner of a larger company.

Geraint commented: “I was originally interested in Innovation Labs for the coworking space it offered. However, it has benefitted my business in ways I couldn’t imagine. This became clear during lockdown when the premises were forced to close, and I took up a virtual membership.

“I was surprised by what I found myself part of. The founders each reached out to offer me support and advice to help me grow my business. These people are experts in what they do and the mentoring they offer is the making of your business.

“Selling my business was not a decision to take lightly and I leant on the Innovation Labs advisors for their thoughts. This was invaluable, and today, they still support me via referrals, leveraging their own networks, and giving great advice.

“Innovation Labs is supporting me to position myself as a thought leader in CareTech and I hope this will be a game changer for my company. To be part of this is vital for any start-up, so I would urge anyone starting their first innovative business, but finding it hard to make the right connections, to apply for a virtual membership – they won’t regret it!”

For more information visit Innovation Labs Stowmarket. to apply for a free virtual membership visit

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