The small business scene in the East of England is thriving. With many business owners relocating from London due to the hefty cost of living, and setting up their own enterprises in Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and Essex, the region has become home to growing clusters of entrepreneurs. In fact, 2017 research by business support platform Informi showed that Ipswich was the best place in the UK to start a business, due to its high levels of digital connectivity, business support infrastructure, links to London, and its low churn rate.
Hotspots for innovation
With its foundations in research, development and innovation, Cambridgeshire is leading the way in generating SME hubs. But ambitious business owners in the other counties are pursuing their own vision by launching new enterprises.
Ipswich and Norwich have been identified as hot-spots for digital startups, which are creating new jobs, working with the latest knowledge and innovations from local universities, and spawning new ventures from larger employers such as BT.
With Essex being so close to London, the county is the ideal base for entrepreneurs seeking affordable premises and experienced employees.
East of England Business Loans
To continue to grow and bolster the regional economy, local SMEs need support. Throughout the East of England there are lots of business lenders providing essential funding. Here are some useful examples of public and private sector funding providers offering loans to small and medium-size enterprises:
Fleximize – With its HQ in Ipswich, Suffolk, this innovative small business lender provides a range of flexible business loans to limited companies and LLPs. Fleximize's relationship managers guide small business owners through the speedy application process to make sure they get the right loan for their needs. Money can be in your account within 48 hours, making this the ideal funding solution for startups and growing SMEs in the East of England.
New Anglia LEP – The Growing Business Fund is a regional grant for local businesses looking to grow and create new jobs. Delivered by New Anglia LEP in partnership with Suffolk County Council and Finance East, funding of up to £500,000 is available, and can be used to fund up to 20% of the total cost of a project.
NWES – This enterprise agency provides a 'Norfolk and Suffolk Grant' to businesses looking to improve productivity/efficiency or launch new products and services. The fund can be used to cover 20% of the total cost of a project, with some businesses in certain areas eligible for a 30% contribution.
Rural Tourism Business Grants (LEADER) – This source of funding is aimed at micro and small businesses in rural areas of East Anglia. Focusing primarily on businesses in the Food and Drink, Forestry, Horticulture, Tourism and Farming sectors, the funding is delivered through the EU's Rural Development Programme England and the Department for Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).
Manufacturing Growth Programme – The Manufacturing Growth Programme is, as you've probably already guessed, available to manufacturers in areas within the East of England, West & East Midlands, Yorkshire and Humber, and the South East. Growth Managers provide free support and advice, as well as access to growth funding.
BEE Anglia – The Business Energy Efficiency (BEE) Programme provides support, guidance and funding for businesses in Suffolk and Norfolk that are looking to become more energy efficient. The organisation will carry free energy reviews and receipients of the grant can use the funding to implement energy efficiency measures.
StartEast – A business support and grants programme for people in Suffolk and Norfolk who are looking to start up a business in a creative sector, such as music, performing arts, media and print. Funding of between £1,000 and £10,000 is available, along with business support, workshops and masterclasses.
Apply for a flexible loan
As a business based in the heart of Ipswich, Fleximize understands first-hand the needs of SMEs in East Anglia. To discuss the lending options on offer for local startups and growing enterprises, call the team today on 0207 100 0110.
Its suite of funding solutions, specifically designed for small and medium-sized businesses, could give you all the financial support you need, now and in the future.
Or click on Apply Now to start the quick and easy application process.
Header image courtesy of Martin Pettitt.