Business grant scheme hailed a success
Hundreds of jobs have been created and £2m has been invested in Breckland's motorsport and advanced engineering sectors, thanks to some free handouts.Officials from the Rural Enterprise Valley (REV) project yesterday hailed the success of their business grant initiative, which is coming to a close.
Hundreds of jobs have been created and £2m has been invested in Breckland's motorsport and advanced engineering sectors, thanks to some free handouts.
Officials from the Rural Enterprise Valley (REV) project yesterday hailed the success of their business grant initiative, which is coming to a close.
A total of 128 small and medium-sized companies across Breckland have benefitted from cheques of up to £5,000 to help them grow and develop since a pot of £600,000 was set aside at the end of 2006.
The grant scheme cash - part of a £6.3m project to boost the advanced engineering and motorsport industry along the A11 corridor - has now all been allocated.
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Mark Stead, skills and recruitment broker for REV, said the scheme had resulted in an investment of £2m in businesses that received cheques, with an estimated 110 extra employees working within those companies. He said the grants had helped motorsport, advanced engineering and supply chain companies to invest in new equipment, websites, training, consultancy, or new premises and also brought a number of isolated firms into the REV community.
“It has been a complete success and has been a significant achievement for the REV project as a whole. We cut out the amount of paperwork and made it a simple and quick process, but it was still a stringent process and we were not just giving money away for the sake of it. It had to help them grow and develop to employ new people, increase turnover, and help the Breckland district as a whole,” he said.
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Of the many companies that benefited from the business grant scheme, Lloyd Engineering Ltd, in Watton, was able to invest in a new precision engineering machine worth more than £150,000. Other companies have relocated as a result of the free cash, such as Advent Motorsport racing team from the Brands Hatch area to Thetford, and theatre set design company MRL Systems, which moved from Swaffham to Dereham.
Specialist industrial cleaning firm Breckland Industrial Ltd, in Attleborough, used their money for health and safety training; Paul Young Engineering, in Swaffham, designed a new website; and filtration manufacturers Comtek Ltd, in Thetford, received an IT upgrade.
The REV project - funded by Breckland Council, Norfolk County Council, the Crown Estate, European monies and the East of England Development Agency - is set to run until October and is also working on creating a new enterprise park in Thetford.