Businesses Encouraged To Innovate With Launch of New Scheme

Start-up businesses in Babergh and Mid Suffolk are being invited to take part in Innovate Local, a pilot scheme designed to help businesses grow and reach new audiences following the impact of Covid-19.

Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Council’s Innovate Local scheme will offer businesses either use of a market stall in Hadleigh or Stowmarket or working space at an innovation hub in Sudbury or Eye.

Business owners who would like showcase their business on a market stall but worry about taking the leap can be part of the pilot Innovate Local scheme at Hadleigh and Stowmarket and receive support and guidance throughout their involvement. 

In addition, businesses will benefit from a free pitch at either market for a set period, mentoring and support to running a safe and successful stall, business advice and training opportunities as well as support before and after the pilot.

The first business to come to the stall in Stowmarket will be Sage & Seasalt who will be selling handmade coastal-inspired sea glass & clay jewellery, artwork, and home décor from Saturday 24 July. While from 6 August, in Hadleigh market, Suffolk Style will be showcasing their range of Fairtrade, handmade and recycled goods for homes and gardens.

The Innovate Local scheme is part of the councils’ ambitions to support high streets through the Invest in Hadleigh and Vision for Stowmarket programmes to help develop vibrant towns for residents and visitors to live, work and explore. 

The market scheme will be run in partnership with Suffolk Market Events who currently manage Hadleigh market on behalf of Babergh District Council as well as several other markets across the county. 

Commenting on the scheme, Cllr Michael Holt, Babergh District Council cabinet member for economic growth said:

“Hadleigh market is a popular shopping destination and a great place to showcase new businesses. Innovate Local provides a fantastic opportunity for new businesses to explore new opportunities with the support and advice to take their enterprise to the next level.”

The scheme is open to businesses that have been operating for less than a year and do not currently have a place on a market and will be running until the end of December 2021.

Justine Paul, Suffolk Market Events said:

“I am very excited by the opportunity that the Innovate Local initiative is bringing to new businesses. It can be overwhelming taking your first steps on a market, and this programme will provide the businesses with the support and guidance to get them off the ground.”

In addition to the market stalls, the Innovate Local programme will be opening an innovation hub in Eye and a pop-up hub in Sudbury later this year. 

The Innovate Local Hubs will offer small business owners and entrepreneurs with access to a working space, mentoring programme as well as targeted business advice and training opportunities. 

The hubs are being delivered in partnership with the Innovation Labs and businesses using either of the hubs in Eye or Sudbury will be able to use Innovation Labs collaborative working space-based in Stowmarket.

Cllr Gerard Brewster, Mid Suffolk District Council cabinet member for economic growth said:

“Through Innovate Local, businesses have a unique opportunity to drive their business forward with expert support and advice. With our experience of the success of the Innovation Labs in Stowmarket, I am delighted that we can now extend this offer to Eye and Sudbury.”

The Innovate Local hubs will be based at Cross Street in Eye and in Borehamgate in Sudbury.

The Innovate Local scheme is being funded from the Suffolk Inclusive Growth Investment Fund (SIGIF) and is part of a wider initiative to support businesses in Babergh and Mid Suffolk. Other activities include the launch of the successful Virtual High Street and the roll out a digital skills programme.

Businesses interested in being part of Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Council’s Innovate Local scheme should visit or

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