Thousands of pounds of venture capital investment is being offered to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Norfolk thanks to a new scheme from Low Carbon Innovation Fund (LCIF), part of the University of East Anglia’s Adapt Low Carbon Group.
Investments of between £25k and £75k are available to eligible SMEs across the county through LCIF’s newly-launched Smaller Investments Scheme.
More than £20m has already been invested in low carbon business projects across the East of England since LCIF launched its main fund in September 2010.
But with that fund only open to companies looking for larger investments of between £75k and £750k, LCIF has responded to demand by launching the new scheme specifically for those seeking lesser amounts.
Dr John French, CEO of the Adapt Low Carbon Group, says: “We’re committed to helping SMEs in Norfolk and have identified a real need for smaller investments in the region. Our new Small Investments Scheme is designed to suit start-ups and small companies from all sectors, especially those in the creative industries, who may have limited resources.”
LCIF investment is open to any eligible business in the region that is interested in developing or producing low carbon technologies, products or services, and/or increasing their operational efficiency to reduce carbon emissions.
“We’re urging all SMEs in Norfolk to check their suitability for the funding. We have funds available right now, and if eligible, small businesses across the region could have money in their accounts very soon,” Dr French adds.
Potential applicants are invited to attend a free LCIF webinar on 18th Feb 13.30-14.00, which the organisation is running to guide SMEs through the application process and answer any questions they may have.
Investment Readiness Workshops are also available, providing additional free support to successful first stage applicants. The workshops will be held across the region and will cover topics including business planning, accounting, and how to build in low carbon management plans.
As a public venture capital fund (funded by the European Regional Development Fund) any LCIF investment is dependent on private co-investment of equal or higher value being made into the business at the same time. Advice on how to secure other sources of investment will also be covered by the workshops.
Over the last three years LCIF has injected more than £6.5m in the East of England’s growing SMEs across a variety of sectors, stimulating an additional £18m from co-investors.
Mark Pendlington, Chair of the Green Economy Pathfinder, says: “LCIF plays a key leadership role in supporting and funding sustainable business growth. This is another first for this innovative Fund, and I urge businesses that are looking for funding for growth to check out the details.”
The new Smaller Investment Scheme will offer a streamlined application process, speedy approval and a quick response to any enquiries from interested companies.
To find out more about the fund, the webinars and the Investment Readiness Workshops, or to submit an application, visit the LCIF website at www.lowcarbonfund.co.uk.
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