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Solent Freeport East to bolster green energy through £800k support programme

10 August 2023
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Solent Freeport

A new £800,000 programme of support aimed at benefitting small businesses and getting young people into green energy jobs was announced by Freeport East this week.

The announcement was marked by an event held on June 27 at Suffolk New College’s Net Zero Skills Centre in Ipswich.

Support will be split into two areas. The Freeport East Clean Growth Fund is aimed at providing financial help to local businesses working in clean energy and Freeport East’s target sectors. The Freeport East Innovation and Skills Fund will have a specific focus on communities that lack support and will enhance existing facilities and services provided by innovation centres, universities, colleges and local training centres and their connections to businesses.

Principal and Chief Executive of Suffolk New College, Alan Pease, said: “This announcement is great news for industry and learners. The Freeport East funds will help to bolster the East of England’s reputation as a skills hub of clean technology, renewable energy and innovation.”

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The growth fund has been set up to help small and medium sized businesses invest in growth, from up-skilling and hiring new staff through to new product development, increasing exports and expanding capacity.

On the other hand, the Freeport East Innovation and Skills Fund will help meet the growing demand for a green energy workforce in the region. This could go towards improvements such as new facilities or services that train and up-skill.

 Chief Executive of Freeport East, Steve Beel, said: “A core element of what we have been set up to do is to boost skills and innovation particularly in supporting emerging clean energy sectors such as green hydrogen. By supporting local talent through our new growth funds, we hope to build on an already vibrant ecosystem that fosters local and national economic growth, and long-term success.

“The East of England is a thriving green cluster but we need to link opportunities into harder-to-reach areas of our local communities. Ensuring that we encourage collaboration within the energy industry and other growth sectors, while supporting new local innovators and getting people into jobs will be critical.”

Applications for the funds will open in September 2023 with the first tranche to be announced in December.

Read more - Southampton's Absolar named as NatWest partner


Tom Kilkelly started working as a freelance journalist for The Business Magazine following his graduation from UCL in 2022.

During his studies Tom became very interested in the works of Irish authors including Samuel Beckett and Flann O'Brien (Brian O'Nolan).

His current role as a freelance business reporter is his first exposure to the world of business journalism. Working at TBM has given Tom the chance to really get to grips with the goings-on in the business hive that is the South East.

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