Partnership pledges to give our rural businesses plenty of support

Mark Pendlington, director of Anglian Water, who has joined the board of New Anglia local enterprise partnership Mark Pendlington, director of Anglian Water, who has joined the board of New Anglia local enterprise partnership

Shaun Lowthorpe Business editor shaun.lowthorpe@archant.co.uk
Saturday, May 31, 2014
8:46 AM

Bosses at New Anglia have pledged to support the rural economy through a partnership aimed at promoting businesses and the agri-tech sector in Norfolk and Suffolk.

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This week New Anglia launched a new growth hub aimed at supporting small businesses across the two counties and point them in the direction of face-to-face access to business support and advice.

But Mark Pendlington, New Anglia chairman, said the LEP would also fight on behalf of the local economy.

He said skills, infrastructure and business support were the three pillars of the rural economy and the LEP was “on the side” of rural businesses.

Speaking at a Suffolk Show event with the CLA and Easton and Otley College, he said: “We are fighting hard for the rural economy, ensuring the availability of strong business support and expertise, including all the funds available to help the businesses deliver the skills and growth that will drive the region forward.

“We need a capable workforce to grow the rural economy and the new enterprises within it, and we need to ensure Suffolk and Norfolk are not at the end of the queue for broadband roll-out,” he said.

“We are fighting hard for the rural economy ensuring the availability of strong business support and expertise, including all the funds available to help the businesses deliver the skills and growth that will drive the region forward.

“This is my aspiration and ambition, and I am determined we can bring it to life – the Local Enterprise Partnership is on your side and on the side of the rural economy.”

Nicola Currie, CLA eastern regional director, said: “There have been big changes in the grant and support systems for rural business and it’s vitally important to get the message out that the LEP is open for business.

“There is the Growing Business Fund to help SMEs expand, invest, and recruit new staff, and there is also the £2.5m Eastern Agri-Tech initiative, which supports new ideas to help develop agricultural productivity and develop new technology.”

Waveney MP Peter Aldous, who was at the event with Suffolk Coastal counterpart Therese Coffey, said: “Significant improvements on broadband in rural areas have been made, but there are still a range of ‘not-spots’ that remain.

“In the village of South Elmham St James, near Bungay, for instance, there are a large number of farming businesses and opportunities for rural diversification. We are making a case for St James to be a pilot for fast broadband.”

For more information regarding grant funding opportunites, contact www.newanglia.co.uk

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