Small businesses across the East of England are being given a helping hand by the East of England Development Agency (EEDA) to find critical forms of funding and finance during the recession.



Launched today, EEDA’s new ‘Understanding Finance for Business’ programme has been designed specifically to prepare companies for raising finance – whether through a bank, venture capitalist, business angel or even public-sector grant funding.



Richard Ellis, chair of EEDA, said:



“It remains a tough time for businesses and raising finance is harder, taking longer than ever and can often be perceived as a complicated process. EEDA’s new programme is about demystifying the subject, cutting through the jargon and really helping businesses to understand the finance options available to them, and more importantly, how to secure them.”



After an initial ‘introduction to finance’ workshop, experts will work with businesses to identify which form of finance is most appropriate for them and how they can improve their prospects of securing that funding.  Following the workshops, and if appropriate, there will be more intensive one-to-one mentoring sessions and finally the chance to try out presentations before a mock panel of experts.



EEDA is teaming-up with St John’s Innovation Centre, a globally-renowned business incubator, to deliver the programme.  St John’s has developed partnerships across the region to harness a wide-range of experienced advisors, including representatives from the world of bank finance, equity groups and specialist funding streams.



“Every business will be different,” Richard added. “Some, for example, may need presentation training to perfect a pitch to an investor. Others may need mentoring to fully prime their business plan for the bank, or simply a push towards a form of finance that they have not considered before. The important factor is that once they have gone through the programme, every business should know exactly what they need and will be in a stronger position to get it.”



Richard Tunnicliffe, regional director of CBI, said:



“Time is a precious commodity in business and often companies just don’t have the resources to fully prepare themselves for the rigours of raising finance – something which is so critical for their growth and survival. EEDA’s programme can help with this process, and give businesses in our region a competitive advantage. It’s certainly a welcome addition to the business support landscape in the East of England.”



To coincide with the launch of the new ‘Understanding Finance for Business’ programme, EEDA have published a top 5 list of funding and finance streams which businesses tend to forget about:



Top 5 forgotten forms of funding & finance:


  1. NEW! Regional Loan – Growth FundWhat? EEDA-administered loans for small to medium-sized businesses in the region which have strong growth potential and long-term investment needs.How much? Loans of between £50,000 and £200,000 are available. Interest charged at 5-9 per cent above the base rate.



  2. Grants for Business InvestmentWhat? Grant funding for ambitious companies looking to grow and create jobs through capital investment e.g. bigger premises or new machineryHow much? £10,000 is the minimum grant available to cover, on average, 10 to 20 per cent of the project’s total cost.



  3. Enterprise Finance Guarantee SchemeWhat? Part of the government’s new ‘Real Help for Business’ portfolio offering new loans, refinancing for current loans, or the option to convert part or all of an existing overdraft into a loan to release capacity in order to meet working capital requirements. How much? Offering loans of between £1,000 and £1 million for a period of three months to 10 years.



  4. Research & Development Tax CreditsWhat? Tax relief for research and development focussed small to medium-sized businessesHow much? Companies can deduct up to 175% of qualifying expenditure on R&D activities when calculating their profit for tax purposes.



  5. Grants for Research and DevelopmentWhat? Grants to help small to medium-sized businesses carry out research and development work on technologically-innovative products or processes.How much? Grants of between £5,000 and £250,000 are available.




Demand for the new ‘Understanding Finance for Business’ programme is expected to be high and places are limited. Businesses are urged to register now at