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Pandemic could spur wave of new SMEs in the east

A new wave of SMEs will boost business recovery in the East post-pandemic, according to a leading Firm of Suffolk solicitors.

Ian Carr, CEO of Prettys in Ipswich, said budding entrepreneurs – many of whom have lost their jobs or been furloughed during repeated lockdowns, could be the key to reigniting the economy when the country reopens.

In addition, many businesses have taken advantage of various support schemes and grants this year and are ready to open bigger and better than before.

Ian Carr of Prettys
Ian Carr of Prettys

Mr Carr said: “There has been a lot of bad news about the economy recently and I can understand why.

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“Many businesses have struggled to keep afloat and have been reliant on government support to see them through while others have been forced to close.

“But as one door closes, another can open – and some are seeing the post-pandemic landscape the perfect time to launch a new venture.

“From mobile coffee shops and eateries to entertainment and engineering, we may see a wave of new small businesses pop up in the trail of COVID-19.

“Many businesses have also used lockdown to reinvest – and are looking to hit the ground running when the country fully reopens.”

Businesses looking to change the way they work or diversify during the pandemic have a range of financial support available.

The New Anglia Growth Hub offers a range of funding streams, including its Business Resilience Recovery Scheme, launched in May 2020.

The scheme has already handed out more than £4.3million to more than 100 organisations.

Its other schemes, the Growing Business Fund – which offers grants up to £500,000 help grow your business – and the Small Grant Scheme – which offers grants from £1,000 to £25,000 – are also proving very popular.

Clip 'n' Climb in Ipswich
Clip ‘n’ Climb

One company that benefited from a New Anglia Growth Hub scheme is Clip ‘n’ Climb in Ipswich.

Open for just nine months when the pandemic struck, the business, run by friends Mark Patterson and Josh Davey, was awarded £27,000 through the Business Resilience and Recovery Scheme.

Director Mark Patterson said: “Despite being closed over a third of the time the centre has been opened, we are full of energy, using this time of closure to strategise how we can further expand on our business and continue to make it the best venue of its kind for our amazing customers.

“The centre was fortunate enough to receive the Business Resilience and Resistance Scheme Grant in the Summer of 2020, giving us the opportunity to add in a further three challenges to the arena, bringing the total of challenges available to 46 – boasting the tallest walls in Europe and the biggest centre of its kind worldwide.

“We cannot wait to open our doors once more to climbers of all ages – bringing fun to life in a place like no other.”

The venue has recently celebrated a win at the London Prestige Awards and has been nominated for climbing centre of the year.

Andrew Diver of Beatons
Andrew Diver of Beatons

Andrew Diver, Head of Taxation at Beatons Group in Ipswich, echoed Mr Carr’s remarks, saying he had recently seen a number of new businesses come in for financial advice.

He said: “The entrepreneurs are largely at the younger end of the scale who might have previously gone into the vibrant hospitality sector in the region but instead have used the opportunity to launch into different areas.

“What does it mean for the business landscape? 

“Smaller businesses are usually more agile and flexible so should hopefully fuel innovation and choice for people in the region.”

Mr Carr added: “Although many businesses have suffered during lockdown, many others are preparing to reopen with a bang.

“Add to that the emergence of a wave of new SMEs, we could see the economy flourish once lockdown is over.”

For more information on Prettys Solicitors visit www.prettys.co.uk

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