April 21 2014 Latest news:
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Small firms with a green focus can grasp thousands of pounds in extra funding after a business-boosting scheme extended its reach.
The Low Carbon Innovation Fund (LCIF) – which has already pumped £20m into companies in need of larger investments – is turning its attention to small-and-medium sized businesses (SMEs), by offering grants of between £25,000 and £75,000 through its Smaller Investments Scheme.
The venture capital project aims to help small businesses across all sectors that show a desire to develop low carbon technologies, or increase efficiency to reduce carbon emissions.
It comes as the need to break down financial barriers for smaller companies were underscored yesterday, after it was revealed that firms were still struggling to get investment despite lending under a flagship Bank of England initiative more than tripling during the third quarter.
The Bank said corporate credit conditions remained “relatively subdued” even though net lending by 42 banks and building societies in the Funding for Lending (FLS) scheme increased to £5.8bn.
While mortgage borrowing conditions have been eased by FLS, small businesses – whose success is seen as key to economic recovery – are still struggling to borrow much-needed cash.
Dr John French, chief executive of the Adapt Low Carbon Group, a partner in the investment project, said: “We’re committed to helping SMEs in Norfolk and have identified a real need for smaller investments in the region.
“Our new Small Investments Scheme is designed to suit start-ups and small companies from all sectors, especially those in the creative industries, who may have limited resources.”
Over the last three years LCIF has injected more than £6.5m in the East of England’s growing SMEs across a variety of sectors, stimulating an additional £18m from co-investors.
Mark Pendlington, chairman of the Green Economy Pathfinder, said: “LCIF plays a key leadership role in supporting and funding sustainable business growth.
“This is another first for this innovative fund, and I urge businesses that are looking for funding for growth to check out the details.”
The LCIF is holding free ‘webinars’ from December 17 to guide SMEs through the application process.
Norwich’s retail economy has been given a fresh shot in the arm with the announcement that sporting giant Nike is to open a shop in the city as the number of empty shops continues to fall.