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Norfolk and Suffolk innovative businesses get £115k of grants thanks to Council mentoring programme

Norfolk County Council, 21 July 2023 00:00

Four businesses in Norfolk and Suffolk have each been awarded an innovation grant from the UK Government thanks to help from the Innovation Grant Mentoring Programme offered by Norfolk and Suffolk County Councils.

The grants, from the Department for Culture, Media, and Sport, are given to high-growth creative businesses to help them scale, build investor networks, and reach their potential. All four businesses were awarded money from the Innovate UK Create Growth Fund which offers grant funding of between £10,000 and £30,000 for innovation projects.

Norfolk County Council's Economic Development team, working with Suffolk County Council, support local companies with their applications to innovation funding streams, including Innovate UK, through the Innovation Grant Mentoring Project. The team offers support with advice, workshops, and by providing an innovation mentor or bid writing coach who helps a variety of business types, including micro, small and medium businesses, to develop their innovative ideas. Coaching on the bid writing process gives businesses confidence in applying for innovation funding. The project also has expert partners who give specialist or academic advice.

Cllr Fabian Eagle, Norfolk County Council's Cabinet Member for Economic Growth, said: "This is fantastic news and demonstrates just how successful our grant mentoring programme can be when coupled with the innovative ideas that Norfolk and Suffolk businesses generate, together with enthusiasm for and dedication to the bid writing process.

We hope these successes will inspire other companies in the region to consider which innovative ideas could merit innovation funding for them, and to contact us so our grant mentoring team can work with them to fine tune their bids."

Cllr Richard Smith, Suffolk County Council's Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Transport Strategy and Waste, said: "This brilliant news demonstrates how our two counties are working together to maximise on investment in innovative projects to help develop jobs and grow our regional economy. Over the last two years the Innovation Grant Mentoring team has worked with nearly 300 businesses, increasing awareness around how funding can benefit businesses, and giving businesses the confidence to press ahead with submitting funding bids. The mentoring project is set to continue for another two years, and we anticipate more success stories for our region soon."

One of the companies to receive a grant is Norwich based film and music educator Reel Connections CIC who will use their grant of £24,367 to start an online academy aimed at helping people, especially those in remote parts of Norfolk, access and share information about skills and careers, and offering a gateway into creative industries.

Guy Martin, Director of Reel Connections CIC said: "As a small, early-stage arts organisation, this was the first time we had applied for Innovation Funding and the support of the Grant Mentoring Programme was invaluable. The application process itself could have proved rather daunting but we were matched with a very experienced mentor who was really interested in our business and the ideas we had. They provided insight and advice and helped us to refine our business plan and supported us all the way with writing our grant application. Securing funding for our project is immensely exciting for us to at an important time in our company's development. The excellent advice and support of the Innovation Grant Mentoring team throughout the process was absolutely key to our success."

The other companies who will receive the grant are:

  • Norwich based Urban XR, who will get £30,000 to create a pop-up mixed reality experience to bring high streets back to life
  • Sketchbook Games in Ipswich will receive £30,000 to create a computer game to help people with their wellbeing
  • qbicle, from Stowmarket, are creating an interactive content platform to help creative professionals with their £28,350 grant

If your business is based in Norfolk or Suffolk and you want more information on the Innovation Grant Mentoring Project, or to sign up to get help with your next bid, visit

Last modified: 14 May 2024 12:45

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