Respond Restart Renew: Helping Businesses Combat COVID-19

The New Anglia LEP’s Norfolk and Suffolk Economic Recovery Restart Plan complements plans being developed at county and district levels and feeds into the Government’s national recovery plan to combat the economic effect of COVID-19.
Published in Norfolk Director Magazine Spring 2021
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New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership: Respond Restart Renew

Measures which underpin the Norfolk and Suffolk Economic Recovery Restart Plan include advice and finance for businesses which are delivered through local authorities, New Anglia Growth Hub, business representative organisations and trade bodies. As a result a diverse range of sectors are benefiting from the £10m package of measures available to support businesses.

Here are some stories on the businesses that have benefited from New Anglia LEP’s funding and investment support.

Norfolk Brand Returns to Its Roots

Zaks’ original caravan was once a much-loved fixture on the Norwich scene and now the company is hitting the road again with the help of a £41,000 grant.

Although the authentic American diners began life in a converted caravan opposite Norwich Castle, by the time their restaurants were opened in Great Yarmouth and Norwich in the 70s and 80s, the iconic red takeaway had closed. But now it is heading back to the road, offering the Zaks experience, with two new mobile units and plans for a pop-up restaurant which will seat 30 to 40 people. It has been supported with a grant from New Anglia LEP’s Business Resilience and Recovery Scheme.

Co-owner, Ian Hacon, said the grant had been “absolutely crucial” in realising their development plans.

“It has enabled us to think much bigger and deliver something which is even better and much more flexible.”

Respond Restart Renew: Helping Businesses Combat COVID-19 1

Fish and Chip Business Frying High

Eric’s Fish and Chips has been awarded a grant of £43,000 to purchase new frying equipment, enabling it to cater for both its restaurant and take-away customers at Thornham, on the north Norfolk coast.

Eric Snaith, owner of the company and chef/owner of Titchwell Manor Hotel in Brancaster, said he was delighted with the Business Resilience and Recovery Scheme funding which removed a lot of the stress from the decision to invest in the business in such a challenging economic landscape.

“We were at the point where we felt we needed to invest, but we are still a privately-owned, small business and you wonder if investing £110,000 in the current climate is the right thing to do,” he commented. “This grant has taken a lot of the worry out of it and made a massive difference emotionally, as well as financially.”

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£2m Investment for Norfolk Rapid Covid Test Firm

Norwich-based Iceni Diagnostics is behind a rapid COVID test that can identify infectious patients and it has secured £2 million of committed investment for 2021. The project has been supported by New Anglia Capital – a public-sector co-investment funded backed by New Anglia LEP.

Advanced discussions are underway with significant public sector and commercial buyers, both in the UK and the US. The investment will be used to build the commercial infrastructure as well as expanding the senior team as Iceni focus on the significant potential within their pipeline of new products.

Prof Rob Field, Co-founder of Iceni Diagnostics, said: “There’s a vast, global potential in the application of our unique technology. We are using it to tackle COVID now, but it will also produce better vaccines and new diagnostic and therapeutic products in the future. The investment we have secured will enable us to attract new talent to the team at Iceni and maximise the significant opportunities we have in our pipeline.”

Unlike other rapid COVID tests, Iceni’s technology can identify both influenza and COVID from the same sample and shows whether the live, intact virus is present in patients, revealing whether an individual is actually infectious, or not, within 15 minutes.

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Norwich-Based Plant-Based Pizza Company Secures Local Investment

Started by a father and son team Joe and Mike Hill, One Planet Pizza, successfully pitched to angel investors and secured £360,000 co-investment from New Anglia Capital, the equity investment fund set up by New Anglia LEP.

The money will support the plant-based pizza company in tripling its current production capacity, securing new retail outlets in the UK and expanding into Europe.

Working from their own purpose-built production unit in Hethersett, Norwich, One Planet Pizza is now the UK’s leading frozen vegan pizza company.  Estimating the carbon footprint of their pizzas is 54% lower than standard pizzas, their packaging is proudly ‘zero to landfill’.  

Mike Hill said: “We are looking forward to using the extra resources and bandwidth that this investment brings to expand our range of products and broaden the reach of our pizzas into new markets.”

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Sanitary Facilities for Offshore Workers see Firm Clean Up

Better toilets and sanitary facilities are being lifted into place for offshore workers after an innovative Norfolk firm came up with the perfect solution during the pandemic.

The lightweight product devised by Pegasus Welfare Solutions (PWS) can be hoisted on and off substations, platforms and other installations by cranes, improving safety. And, thanks to a grant of £25,400 from New Anglia LEP’s Business Resilience and Recovery Scheme, PWS 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 in Norwich.

Dan Greeves established PWS in 2017 and explained: “We think of innovation as being the latest cutting-edge engineering coming out of the lab, but that’s not always what we need to solve the most pressing issues. Sometimes something simple can really solve the problem. Our units mean fewer ladder climbs to and from Crew Transfer Vessels for toilets and handwashing. Transfers are cut by at least a third, increasing daily productivity by up to 18%.” 

Triathlon Supplier Moves Into E-Bikes

Triathlon supplier, Tri Harder, has received funding of £30,000 to enable it to move into the e-bike market and create more COVID-secure premises.

Ben Walker, who owns the Dereham-based firm, said. “The grant will futureproof the business and help us to offer a real experience for people coming to the shop for electric bikes.

“Part of the plan is for us to broaden our customer base to make us more resilient going forward and, if races are cancelled, we will have another side to the business that will benefit from lockdown because people will travel on bikes more than on public transport. Therefore, electric bikes increase the range we can offer.”

Keyless Entry System Will Unlock New Business

Virginia Court Hotel in Cromer says a keyless entry system funded through a grant of £2,022, will help it attract guests looking for more flexible check-in and check-out times.

The hotel suffered heavy losses after Covid-19 forced it to close, and three members of staff were made redundant. Now when the hotel reopens, the new keyless system will help attract guests outside of the peak seasons and give the business more economic resilience. New Anglia LEP’s Visitor Economy Grants are funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

Shaun Trumble, who co-owns the hotel said: “This keyless door lock system means guests can arrive whenever they want. This allows us to get that incremental business in the quieter months and try and tap into a new market. Applying for a grant was much easier than anticipated, and the decision-making was really quick.”

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To find out more about how grants are supporting businesses visit New Anglia LEP.
The New Anglia Growth Hub provides free, impartial business support to businesses across Norfolk and Suffolk. For more information T: 0300 333 6536 or
E: growthhub@newanglia.co.uk or visit newangliagrowthhub.co.uk

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