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East of England businesses to benefit from £22m funding for low carbon initiatives

22 July 2019

A successful bid to the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) by Norfolk County Council and the University of East Anglia (UEA) will see at least £22m invested in small and medium-sized businesses in the region. The new programme will allow for the set-up of an investment fund to support businesses developing products and services which will have a beneficial environmental impact.

Operated by the UEA and supported by Norfolk County Council, the Low Carbon Innovation Fund 2 (LCIF2) will invest in SMEs across Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Peterborough and Hertfordshire. To qualify for support, businesses must be making an impact on greenhouse gas reduction, either through the development of products and services or through manufacturing or operational changes.

Cllr Graham Plant, Deputy Leader of Norfolk County Council and Cabinet Member for Growing the Economy, said: “Working together to enable this important fund to be made available across the East of England will enhance the region’s position as a leader in low carbon innovation. Climate change could have a major impact on Norfolk, and we are keen to do anything we can to mitigate the risks.”

The fund will identify and manage suitable investment opportunities across the eligible area, raising the 50 per cent or more of private co-investment to match the £11m of public funds from the ERDF on a project-by-project basis. The UEA and Norfolk County Council will work with the selected fund manager, Turquoise International, who have a strong track record in fundraising, investments and asset management focusing on energy and the environment, including renewables and cleantech.

Ali Naini, Managing Director of Turquoise, said: “The original LCIF initiative demonstrated the rich variety of world-class clean technologies being developed in this region. It also proved the benefits of providing public support to such ventures through investment rather than grants. LCIF2 is designed to extend and improve that experience for the benefit of a wider range of entrepreneurs and technologists in the region, whilst also helping Britain stay at the forefront of global developments and markets in environmental technologies.”

Investments will range from £25,000 up to £1m for a variety of early and growth stage businesses from a range of different sectors. Follow-on investments will also be possible. The fund is open to SMEs active within the region (either wholly or partially) or with an interest in moving to the region.

Helen Lewis, Head of Research and Innovation Division, UEA said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Norfolk County Council for the second phase of the enormously successful Low Carbon Innovation Fund. This will bring much needed investment funds to the region to help develop and bring to market environmentally beneficial products and services and grow the most innovative businesses in East Anglia.”

Anyone wishing to find out more about the fund should contact lcif@uea.ac.uk or call 01603 592548.

The University of East Anglia (UEA) is a UK Top 15 university. Known for its world-leading research and outstanding student experience, it was awarded Gold in the Teaching Excellence Framework and is a leading member of Norwich Research Park, one of Europe’s biggest concentrations of researchers in the fields of environment, health and plant science www.uea.ac.uk

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