Innovate Local

Supporting our high streets to generate new business opportunities

Innovate Local scheme for new business support

The Innovate Local scheme began in 2021 thanks to support from the Suffolk Inclusive Growth Investment Fund (SIGIF). In 2022 it also received support from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). This scheme is still running in Sudbury and Hadleigh.

The scheme aims to:

  • support our high streets to re-open post COVID-19
  • generate new business opportunities
  • increase footfall
  • foster a supportive start-up environment

The scheme included three kinds of support:

  • pilot market stalls for start-ups
  • innovation space in a rural market town
  • Pilot market stalls for new start-ups

During 2021-22, the Councils worked with Suffolk Market Events and the Town Councils to offer free market stalls in Hadleigh, Stowmarket, and Sudbury to start-ups. The stalls supported new businesses to reach new audiences and pilot their products and services.

Through the scheme businesses received:

  • a free stall at a local market for a set period
  • access to trading infrastructure, for example gazebos, leg weights, tables
  • access to unique advice and support as a market trader
  • business development, through training and opportunities
  • support pre and post pilot, with reviews and signposting

To be eligible, businesses had to:

  • be new or established during the past year
  • be from within the districts of Babergh or Mid Suffolk
  • not have an existing market stall position, or extensive previous market stall experience
  • give feedback for the pilot, and engage with the Councils and Suffolk Market Events
  • show they follow UK regulations for products and public liability insurance

This pilot was part of our wider Vision and Invest programmes to support our market towns.

Provision of innovation space in a rural market town

Cross Street, Eye

An Innovation Space is planned for Eye town centre, you can read the Plan on a Page on the Invest in Eye page.

Innovation Labs – Sudbury

A brand new co-working space has come to Sudbury, part of Babergh District Council’s Innovate Local initiative. The hub opened in 2022 and is run by Innovation Labs to offer a completely unique blend of support that fosters:

  • Innovation
  • Digital transformation
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Business growth

Innovation Labs offers cost effective coworking facilities. The hub provides access to cutting edge technologies, business support services, and funding advice. This powerful combination supports members from idea to multi-million pound business. It offers a modern co-working space aimed to support businesses and start-ups with:

  • hot desking space
  • business networking
  • and funding advice

Visit Innovation Lab’s website