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Low carbon fund invests £70m in East of England businesses

The Low Carbon Innovation Fund (LCIF) at the University of East Anglia (UEA) has invested more than £70m to businesses in the region, attracting millions of pounds worth of private sector investment.

During it’s first round of funding which has now come to an end, the fund has invested in 45 small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the East of England, across a wide range of sectors including renewable energy, automotive, technology and the creative industries.

£20.5 million allocated to the fund for investment by European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) has now been spent, helping to create more than 260 jobs, as well as saving over 210 jobs that otherwise would have been lost. Launched in 2010, the fund attracted an additional £49m of investment into the region through private sector co-investors.

The fund’s aim has been to invest into innovative companies that have a clear carbon reduction impact, this could be directly through the company’s products, or behaviour change.  LCIF has made individual investments of between £10k and £1m into growing businesses, helping to reduce the UK’s overall carbon emissions.

Professor John French, Adapt CEO said, “The achievement of LCIF in leveraging so much private sector investment into low-carbon technology is especially heartening when we consider the challenging targets set by the recent Paris climate deal. Cooperation between both the public and private sectors is key if we are to achieve the greenhouse gas emissions targets that will bind all participating governments”.

James Griffiths, Programme and Fund Manager said “The fund has been an amazing success and we are delighted to have been able to invest in so many diverse and innovative businesses in the East of England. The fund has been able to not only assist companies with their low carbon agendas, but also help them grow, diversify and create new jobs in the region.”

Norwich based PAM Communications received investment through the Low Carbon Innovation Fund. The company is a publisher of digital magazines and currently has one title, electronic music magazine ‘Electronic Sound’ which has switched from conventional paper production to pure digital content.

LCIF was impressed by the innovative ways the management team are reducing carbon emissions across the whole range of operations and the company are seeking advice on further carbon reduction strategies by commissioning Adapt Low Carbon Group to assess and quantify potential future savings. The company have a range of titles in the pipeline for launch in the near future.

Mark Roland, one of the company’s founders said “Funding from LCIF has helped us to build a small and dynamic publishing company based in Norwich which is now competing in a national and global marketplace. LCIF has supported our business both financially and with invaluable advice, and its backing gives us credence moving forward to further investment rounds.”

LCIF will move into its second phase of investment activity in 2016.