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New programme launches to support Essex small businesses

22 February 2016

This week the Innovation 50 project has been launched to support small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in Essex.

The result of a partnership between Essex County Council’s Essex Innovation Programme (EIP) and Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), the project, which will run over the next three years, aims to identify and support the 50 most successful SMEs in the county. 

Applications are now open for Essex SMEs to become an Innovation 50 company.  Businesses operating in any sector that can demonstrate growth and innovation are encouraged to apply.

Benefits of the project include:

  • Free business mentoring from the Essex Innovation Programme
  • Academic and business expertise from Anglia Ruskin University
  • Publicity and profile-raising
  • Networking opportunities to extend contacts within the business community
  • Innovation 50 achievement accreditation


The partnership between EIP and ARU has been set up to encourage the sharing of expertise and good practice to support economic growth in the region.

Dr. Rob Willis, Director of Research, Anglia Ruskin University, said: “We have had a successful partnership with Essex County Council for some time and we are particularly looking forward to the contribution that we as a University Business School can make to enable businesses to thrive.”

Councillor Kevin Bentley, Deputy Leader of Essex County Council and Cabinet Member for Economic Growth, stated: “The launch of this project will give a major boost to some of the top small businesses in Essex and will enable us to support many more SMEs across the county. Small businesses are absolutely vital to growing the Essex economy and I would encourage all that are eligible to apply.”