Growing and greener with the Growing Business Fund Smart invests phase two of Growing Business Fund grant in improving environmental credentials
07 March 2016

Growing and greener with the New Anglia Growing Business Fund

Following the award of the second phase of a grant from the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership Growing Business Fund Smart Garden Offices has been able to continue investment in their new manufacturing site in Thurston, Suffolk.

This second round of investment from The Growing Business Fund of £20,000 forms part of over £750,000 investment from Smart to grow the company premises and to enable the company to deliver on the substantial increase in demand for its products; through the development of the company’s manufacturing site in Thurston, near Bury St. Edmunds in Suffolk, where they relocated to in the early part of 2015.

The second phase of this grant has enabled Smart to invest in the latest precision manufacturing technology, including a second CNC machine dedicated to increasing production of the garden offices and studios that are installed by Smart nationwide. The business has also been able to introduce  an extraction system which turns wood shavings waste into briquettes used to power the factory’s biomass heating system. These changes have ensured that Smart is able to continue improving the manufacturing site’s energy efficiency, and is now able to recycle or reuse 90% of the waste created as part of the garden office manufacturing processes, complimenting Smart’s pledge to use certified sustainable and local materials wherever possible.

Charlie Dalton, Managing Director at Smart Garden Offices, believes that it is this commitment to high-end manufacture that enables the company to maintain its reputation for exceptional quality and uncompromising design:

“We are extremely grateful to the New Anglia LEP in assisting us to improve our infrastructure with the latest manufacturing technology, in turn increasing our capacity and continuing our training of the craftsmen and women of the future. Our dedicated garden office production lines allow exceptional productivity and unparalleled accuracy for impressive quality. We are fanatical about producing the best garden offices across the UK and maintaining our 100% customer satisfaction that is synonymous with our brand. We wouldn’t have been able to expand in line with the market demand without the support of the Growing Business Fund.”

To date more than 100 businesses across Norfolk and Suffolk have secured grants to boost growth and create over 1300 jobs across the region. From manufacturing and engineering to marketing and digital creative, more than 100 businesses in Suffolk and Norfolk have been awarded grants worth over £10.7m, from New Anglia’s flagship Growing Business Fund.

A total of 114 companies, across all districts in both counties, have secured grants to help them boost productivity and create jobs. The funding has helped with capital projects such as new premises and production lines and paid for equipment and tools, IT software and marketing campaigns. The funding is set is to create a total of 1,384 jobs over the next few years and will unlock £60.3m in private match funding.

The fund, which was launched in April 2013, offers grants of between £25,000 and £500,000, representing up to 20% of the expansion costs and must create one job for every £10,000 awarded. There is also a Small Grants Scheme which offers funding from £5000 to £25,000.

Chris Starkie, managing director of New Anglia LEP said: “The LEP’s primary focus is to help drive the economic growth of Norfolk and Suffolk. The Growing Business Fund is key to that ambition and not only supports SMEs to thrive and create jobs, but helps them to unlock further private investment which would not be available without our financial support. In two years this fund has already beaten its predicted job target and through our Growth Deal with Government we have additional funding enabling the programme to run until 2021.”

To read more about Smart’s initial investment and use of phase one of the Growing Business Fund click here.