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31 Oct 2023

East Midlands Chamber secures £8.9m funding to deliver new generation of business support

Businesses in the region are to receive a significant boost to their operations with a helping hand from East Midlands Chamber’s new generation of business support.

The chamber of commerce for Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire has secured £8.9m of public funding until March 2025 to deliver its Accelerator project, which aims to provide one seamless point of entry for relevant business support.

It comprises key activities under the strands of net zero, innovation, digital and finance, with the aim of helping companies at all stages of their development to start, sustain, grow and innovate.

The East Midlands Chamber Accelerator project brings together a number of publicly-funded contracts including the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF), a key part of the Government’s levelling up agenda to enhance communities, businesses and skills; Innovate UK EDGE, which helps innovative SMEs to grow and achieve scale; and Made Smarter East Midlands, which assists manufacturers in switching to advanced and automated technologies.

Diane Beresford, deputy chief executive of East Midlands Chamber, said: “The East Midlands Chamber Accelerator programme has been carefully designed to provide businesses across the district with the right support, at the right time.

“At the heart of the project is a team of locally-based advisers and specialists, employed by the Chamber, who will offer high-intensity support to businesses seeking to grow, create new jobs or exploit technology to improve performance.

“Working with an adviser or specialist will be a key ingredient for businesses interested in taking advantage of Accelerator support and a diagnostics report will show them where best to point their energies.”

Dedicated business adviser support

Key activities will be delivered under the strands of net zero, innovation, digital and finance to help businesses achieve the following:

  • Develop new-to-the-firm technologies
  • Improve productivity
  • Safeguard and create jobs
  • Adopt new digital technologies and processes
  • Engage in new markets
  • Improve productivity
  • Introduce new products and services
  • Increase revenue
  • Make progress on their journey to net zero.

The Net Zero Accelerator will build on the success of the Sustainable East Midlands campaign to deliver events, workshops, and the opportunity for an energy-saving and improvement opportunities audit.

Other investment themes include increasing investment in research and development at local level, with a focus on commercialising ideas and accelerating the path to market; improving training hubs, incubators and accelerators to support entrepreneurs and start-ups through the early stages of development and growth; and taking a whole systems approach to infrastructure investment that delivers effective decarbonisation across energy, buildings and transport.

While the Accelerator programme is open to participation from all sectors, there is recognition that manufacturing, visitor economy, retail and services businesses are critically important sectors that warrant targeted support.

Action-planning workshops and dedicated business adviser support

The East Midlands Chamber Accelerator programme will build on the success of the Growth Hub service via a range of fully-funded action-planning workshops delivered locally on topics such as finance, carbon efficiency, HR and digital marketing.

Working with a locally-based business adviser or specialist will be the first port of call for businesses interested in taking advantage of Accelerator support. Diagnostics will be assessed, and a business action plan produced through the Balanced Scorecard strategic management system model.

Growth vouchers worth up to £2,000 – covering 100% intervention – will be available for specialist or sector-specific training or consultancy advice, in addition to support for identifying and accessing grant funding.

Opportunities to upskill and collaborate

Businesses employing more than five people and with a turnover of £100,000 are invited to apply for a Chamber subsidy covering the £750 cost of joining the Help to Grow: Management course being delivered by the region’s universities, with the remaining cost of attendance covered by a Government subsidy.

The course provides an excellent opportunity for senior managers and leaders to engage with and learn from their peers.

Collaboration is very much the theme too for the Chamber’s East Midlands Manufacturing Network, in which manufacturers have the opportunity to share best practice and seek advice during local forums that take place every six weeks.

How to get involved with East Midlands Chamber Accelerator project and upcoming workshops

Businesses interested in benefitting from this next generation of business support are invited to contact the Chamber’s Information team on 0333 320 0333, to arrange an exploratory meeting with a business adviser.

Upcoming events delivered as part of the Accelerator programme include:

2 November: Building a high-performance team

7 November: WordPress masterclass

14 November: Negotiating sales through excellent customer care

15 November: Getting started with paid advertising

21 November: Managing finance

Workshops will be held in person at various locations across the districts.

For a full list of East Midlands Accelerator events, visit