Partnership drives economic growth across Norfolk and Suffolk

Ken Venables; Managing Director; Signs Express Norwich Picture: Contributed

Ken Venables; Managing Director; Signs Express Norwich Picture: Contributed - Credit: Archant

A publicly-funded team is working across Norfolk and Suffolk to drive economic growth and help the region's businesses to grow and create jobs.

New Anglia Growth Hub, part of the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), works alongside businesses in Norfolk and Suffolk to deliver almost £2.5m in grants over three years and assisting in the creation of more than 600 jobs. It's helped more than 7,700 businesses and given 38,500 hours of business support and mentoring.

The LEP's Economic Strategy for Norfolk and Suffolk sets out its ambitions to:

• Grow the local economy.

• Create 88,000 new jobs.

• Create 30,000 successful new businesses.

Nigel Best, Head of the Growth Hub, said: 'We are helping to transform the economy by providing specific support to businesses with robust growth plans through the delivery of ambitious programmes that include helping them to secure finance from the Small Grants Scheme and Growing Business Fund for part-funding of growth projects. Both funding schemes are supported by the European Regional Development Fund.'

Most Read

Here are some examples of how the Growth Hub has helped businesses in 2018:

Portable Space/Stowmarket

Having worked closely with the Growth Hub for many years, this portable accommodation specialist has benefited from a number of grants. The latest funding – just under £24,000 – was used to increase its transport fleet capacity, invest in new hand-held delivery technology for its drivers and upgrade its booking website.

Gainsborough Silk Weaving Co/Sudbury

One of the few remaining silk mills left in the UK, Gainsborough received £32,000 to help buy a much-needed new, modern loom that is able to weave a more affordable silk to feature in a number new silk collections - enabling it to break into new international markets.

Signs Express/Norwich

Grant of around £15,000 helped to fund the purchase of a new flatbed CNC router cutter costing £73,000, enabling Signs Express to keep larger signage cutting work in-house - saving £30,000 a year and allowing it to break into new markets with its enhanced capability.

Gnaw Chocolate/Norwich

Gnaw has experienced rapid growth from its successful manufacture of a new type of chocolate product. An opportunity arose to supply its French distributor with a new-sized, healthier 'grab and go' bar featuring Norfolk granola as a key ingredient. It was able to purchase a new wrapping machine to cope with the new demand thanks to the part-funding it received.


The company specialises in supplying, installing and maintaining telecommunications systems for doctors' surgeries. To make the most of the opportunity presented by the increased demand for intelligent communications systems, X-on worked with the Growth Hub to secure £25,000 part-funding to buy 30 refurbished servers to increase its cloud-based capacity and enable it to future-proof its offering.

Hubbard Products/Ipswich

It secured a grant to design new infrastructure - total cost £600,000 - to manufacture and test its revolutionary new cryogenically-powered refrigeration units for the food transport industry that are more economical and environmentally responsible than the diesel-powered equivalent.

Alpha Inclusion/Norwich

A grant of £5,000 was secured for the part-funding of a commercial vehicle and its conversion into the 'Block Bus', a mobile activity room – enabling it to deliver Lego-based therapy, communications training and team-building activities to the corporate sector.

Your Life in Your Hands/ Ipswich

A start-up providing mobile health screening and well-being assessments to private individuals and employers, received a programme of business mentoring from two of the Growth Hub's advisers.

Here to help

New Anglia Growth Hub's team provides support to companies with robust plans to grow, helping them in a number of ways. The delivery of support is led by its expert team of business advisers who follow this process:

Initial meeting

It all starts with an appointment with one of the Growth Hub's business advisers, who have a variety of experiences and areas expertise to call on. They will visit business owners and the management teams of companies for an initial fact-funding conversation.

Action plan

The adviser will recommend a course of action if the business and its plans are deemed eligible. The plan can include a mix of mentoring, training, networking help and access to funding.


The Growth Hub is able to support companies to apply for finance from two different funds – the Small Grant Scheme and the Growing Business Fund, both financed by the European Regional Development Fund.

Call 0300 333 6536 or visit