East Anglian’s energy industry urged to apply for funding for cutting-edge firms

Richard Salmon at the Norwich Enterprise Centre
Photo: Bill Smith
Copy: Sam Williams
For: Archant
Archant © 2010
01603 772434 Richard Salmon at the Norwich Enterprise Centre Photo: Bill Smith Copy: Sam Williams For: Archant Archant © 2010 01603 772434

Friday, April 25, 2014
12:30 PM

Businesses breaking new ground in East Anglia’s energy sector are being urged to grasp a slice of a £2.5m innovation fund.

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Charting the North Sea

Norwich-based marine technology specialist Norcom has been handed a £20,000 SCORE grant to create a “Google maps for the seabed”.

The company, which develops software and hardware for navigation, is using the funds to create a service showing the precise location of all the current windfarms as well as data pinpointing 20,000 wrecks on the region’s seabed.

Its eChart service will be created using data from the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office. Sailors will be able to use the programme to plan their journeys with routes and timings of when they will arrive, the company said.

Phil Harris, managing director of Norcom Technology, based in Unthank Road, said the product will be the most advanced seabed map of the North Sea.

“Receiving funding from the SCORE grant programme was fundamental in bringing this project to fruition,” he said. “It has enabled us to employ a dedicated member of staff to work the data and web design elements, both of which are critical if we are to complete the service within the timeframe.”

The scheme is targeting small and medium sized businesses creating cutting-edge products in the offshore renewable energy sector supply chain.

Delivered by Norfolk and Waveney Enterprise Services (NWES), the programme is offering £2.5m worth of investment from the European Regional Development Fund, with grants ranging from £2,500 to £50,000, or 30pc of an eligible project’s costs.

Richard Salmon, project manager of the Supply Chain Innovation for Offshore Renewable Energy (SCORE) fund, said: “Many companies and start-ups can be deterred from applying for funding as they perceive the level of information and form filling required to be too time consuming, which isn’t the case with this grant fund.

“Where SCORE differs from many grant opportunities is that we are supported by a team of industry specialists whose job is to support companies and start-ups, evaluate funding viability and assist with the development of a business case.”

One company that has already benefitted from the SCORE fund is recruitment company People with Energy (PWE). Stuart Smith, director of the Beccles firm, said: “Our plan to provide a recruitment outsourcing service to companies in the offshore energy sector is an innovative first in East Anglia and when we heard how SCORE funding could be available to drive forward our ideas we jumped at the chance.”

Working with Mr Salmon, PWE was granted £10,000 to launch an outsourced recruitment project which saw a member of staff placed at 3Sun Group’s Great Yarmouth office.

Mr Salmon said: “Our region’s offshore renewable energy sector provides East Anglian businesses with a unique landscape on which to develop innovative ideas, processes and services. Firms which receive SCORE funding will all help strengthen the area’s capability for innovation.

To find out if you are eligible for a SCORE grant, call 01502 563368, or email orbisenergy@nwes.org.uk

Do you have a business story ? Contact Ben Woods on 01603 772426

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