Following a continuous period of expansion, Smart Garden Offices has been investing in the development of the company facilities and staff supported by the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership and a grant through the Growing Business Fund.
The grant provided by The Growing Business Fund 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 move to and development of a new manufacturing site in Thurston, near Bury St. Edmunds in Suffolk, and the creation of eight jobs across the company, including three apprenticeships.
Charlie Dalton, Managing Director at Smart Garden Offices said; “Since Smart launched in 2006 we have grown considerably to become the market leader and the demand for our products this year has been unprecedented. It is therefore imperative that we invest in our infrastructure and employees to continue growing the business in the future, whilst continuing to develop the engineering and craftsmanship behind our product and manufacturing processes to maintain the quality of garden room design and 100% customer satisfaction that is synonymous with the Smart brand.”
“The funding from the New Anglia LEP is helping to drive the next stage of our growth. We have taken on new manufacturing premises and offices at Thurston, increased our team and invested in our manufacturing technology, and have seen our turnover rise in the 12 months to September 2015, compared to the previous 12 months. We have further exciting developments underway and 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.”