Targeting Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Thurrock, the events offered practical help and advice as well as giving SME and social enterprise entrepreneurs the chance to network with suppliers and colleagues.
The Low Carbon Business Programme, Improving Your Resource Efficiency, is part of Solutions for Business, the government’s package of publicly-funded business support designed to help companies start and grow.
Members of the grants panel — responsible for approving applications to the Low Carbon Business Programme — were on hand to offer advice and talk through delegates’ ideas and concerns.
Suppliers of low-carbon goods and services, and business support organisations were also available to offer advice and expertise.
Thurrock Council Leader, Cllr John Kent, gave the keynote address to the first event.
He said: “Thurrock is the place to be doing business in southern England. Thurrock’s economy is more than the big industries that we all know about. There are many small or even micro businesses here — and like the rest of us, they’re facing tough times— but there are hundreds of millions of pounds of investment flowing into Thurrock.”
Speaking afterwards, he added: “The Low Carbon Business programme has been designed to address the specific challenges and issues faced by southern Essex which emits some of highest volumes of carbon dioxide in the east of England.
“Currently there is no single entity that is able to provide the co-ordination, advice and bespoke support that is required to achieve significant reductions in these damaging emissions.
“This programme aims to increase the competitiveness of the south Essex economy and the economic prosperity of SMEs by co-ordinated work to reduce businesses’ carbon footprint by providing them with access to expertise on the best practice in ‘greening’ their businesses and to introduce carbon reduction solutions at an individual business level.
“There is around £3½ million in European Community grants available, so using less energy saves money and you’ll get a grant to help pay for it — a real win-win!”