Funding and Mentoring for Innovative Local Businesses
29th September 2011
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Norfolk Knowledge has some funding for innovation in rural communities. They also provide free management support for local businesses.

The scheme is open to all, including; entrepreneurial individuals and start-ups, commercial businesses, as well as Community, Voluntary or Public Sector organisations.

What’s more, it is not restricted solely to new products or inventions. It includes new processes and new strategies – basically any kind of innovation.

Interested applicants should contact Norfolk Knowledge as soon as possible to find out more and complete the Application Form before the 12th October deadline.

Help is on offer for those who need guidance on completing a formal application. 

It is hoped to support all enquiries with some type of practical assistance such as free workshops or coaching. It is only the most promising candidates that will be offered a package of both finance and mentoring support.

Hyde Definition of Hempnall, Norfolk, were the first to be selected from 21 applications received by Norfolk Knowledge’s Innovation Panel in the first round of funding.

Hyde Definition, already an innovative SME, are the only business in the UK to specialise in camouflage pattern design and are amongst just half a dozen known to exist World-wide. Now with their own proprietary PenCott™ camouflage pattern, Hyde Definition use blending and disruption principles to emulate textures and fractal patterns common to the majority of natural backgrounds. To date, hundreds of enquiries have been received many from overseas users such as Special Operations Forces in North America and Europe and apparel manufacturers in North America, Europe and the Middle East.

Dom Hyde, Design Director and joint owner of Hyde Definition commented:

“Working with our mentor has helped us clarify and prioritise. We had an over-emphasis on one customer segment, Norfolk Knowledge helped us to see this and redress the balance by working with us to create new strategies. We are now investing in the production of actual fabric that we can sell, in addition to earning commission when other people use our pattern. This creates an additional revenue-stream, important for us as an SME, but also each garment will be out there in a multitude of countries and environments, acting as a piece of marketing collateral, helping to raise awareness of our brand.”

The Norfolk Knowledge Innovation Panel awarded £4,295 of capital funding in addition to their management support.

Richard Garnett, of the panel, commented:
“We are pleased to have heard from Hyde Definition. Their specialised design for camouflage was already innovative but they needed support with broader business management skills. From the range of Norfolk Knowledge members we matched them with a suitable mentor to challenge and coach, which was their spring board to creating a more innovative marketing strategy.”

The 70-strong group of Norfolk Knowledge members are all retired or semi-retired people, heavily experienced, from business, public sector or voluntary organisations.

Members have many years of experience and can offer support in a number of specialisms; strategy, planning, marketing, finance, operations and general management, with experience in a number of sectors including; tourism, leisure & retail, transport & logistics, telecommunications, electronics and manufacturing.

More can be read at or call 01603 591816 to find out more.

About the Author

Chris and Sara G

Member since: 10th July 2012

We own thebestofnorwich and are always on the look out for interesting things that are happening in Norwich, great local businesses and your views about anything local.

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