Innovation grant mentoring project

Do you have an idea worthy of Innovate UK funding, or need help with your application? Get mentoring and bid writing support to help you secure the funding you need to develop your project or idea.

Innovation funding can help you take your business to the next level, whether you’re looking to develop a new product or expand into a new market.

But getting the funding can be a complicated process and take a lot of time, especially if you have a smaller business. We’re here to help you submit a strong application and increase your chances of getting funding.

If you’ve applied for Innovate UK funding before but didn’t get it, apply today and we can help you in your next bid. We can also help support you work on an early concept idea.

Businesses must be based in Norfolk or Suffolk.

How it works

We explore your business aims and ambitions so we can match you with mentors or bid writing coaches. They will help you to develop your ideas and reach the stage where you're ready to apply for innovation funding.

The project helps a variety of business types, from sole traders to micro, small and medium businesses. If you have an idea that could be worthy of innovation funding, we can help you!

Our mentors and bid writing coaches can help identify appropriate grants for you. Then, coach your business in the art of bid writing, helping you develop your funding application.

Alongside our mentors and coaches, we have expert project partners on hand to give you specialist sector advice or academic expertise for your project.

Your business ideas will be treated in strict confidence. Applicants, mentors and coaches all sign non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) at the start of the project.

Register your interest

We'll make the project work for you

Running or managing a business means a busy schedule. We’ll work with you to make sure you get the support you need in the way that works best for you:

  • If you’ve never applied for innovation funding before, our mentors can walk you through every step of the way
  • If you’ve applied before but haven’t been successful, we can offer focused support to improve future bids
  • Or you might want to work with a mentor with specific industry advice who can help to steer you in the right direction

You’ll also get access to workshops with mentors and bid writing coaches that will be available to all our businesses signed up.

What’s the catch?

You will need to put the time and effort in. Your mentor and bid writing coach offer advice and support, but they won’t do your product research or application for you.

We might also ask you to do a bit of promo work for the project once you’ve taken part. When our project helps you win your funding, we’ll want to shout about it.

Frequently asked questions

The project is run by Norfolk County Council, Suffolk County Council and the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

Our expert project steering group includes representatives from:

  • The Cambridge Norwich Tech Corridor
  • Enterprise Europe Network
  • Hethel Innovation
  • Knowledge Transfer Network UK
  • MENTA
  • New Anglia LEP
  • New Anglia Growth Hub
  • Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult
  • University of East Anglia
  • University of Suffolk

Statistically, Norfolk and Suffolk businesses receive significantly less funding for innovation projects than companies based in the rest of the East of England. Yet millions of pounds worth of innovation grants are available.

For example, businesses in the East of England have been awarded £638m of Innovate UK funding in the last 15 years. But of this total, Norfolk and Suffolk businesses have only received £45.9m, which equates to just 7.2%.

These figures have led Norfolk and Suffolk County Councils to join forces with the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) to devise a new, free grant mentoring programme that helps local businesses to:

  • Better understand innovation opportunities
  • Write better, stronger bid applications
  • Access a significantly higher percentage of the available funding

As part of the project, we have received funding to pay for professional mentors from a wide range of industries and sectors. Together they have huge amounts of expertise in writing grant applications and teaching business owners how to develop the skills needed. They’re friendly, knowledgeable, helpful, business people. Many continue to run their own businesses.

Completing grant forms is a specialist skill. It’s not always obvious how to write a strong application or which funding stream to aim for. And if you’ve been unsuccessful, sometimes it’s hard to understand the feedback explaining why.

This project will give you bespoke, flexible, tailored support to re-work your application or start from scratch. Project mentors will also help you work out who the best grant giving body is for your project.

The council, its partners and contractors will respect any rights asserted by the author/creator of work in respect of their work. We'll use non disclosure agreements (NDAs) to protect both business beneficiaries and the project’s mentors, bid writing coaches and project partners. We will ask all parties to sign an NDA before bespoke mentoring or bid writing starts.

Read the Innovation Grant Mentoring privacy notice for information about how we will use your personal information.

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