Akcela Ventures, Norwich’s only startup incubator,  has been awarded a £110,000 grant.

The funding has been secured as part of the Ecosystem Partnership Programme, a joint initiative between Norfolk and Suffolk County Councils, Connected Innovation and Barclays Eagle Labs to boost support for the region’s digital technology sector.

The investment marks a significant milestone for Akcela, founded by James Adams, and will be used to scale its services and provide more support to a greater number and range of businesses, investors, entrepreneurs and those starting a business for the first time via workshops, self-learning modules and the opportunity for full incubation. 

The East of England has relatively few startup incubators, most of which have a London-centric or Cambridge focus, which is why the latest funding is a huge confidence boost, not only for Akcela, but also for Norfolk-based founders.

“The latest funding is a huge vote of confidence in Akcela and its mission to create an environment that allows more Norfolk-based founders to start businesses that grow and thrive in this region, creating more jobs and attracting more talent to our region,” said Adams.

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The funding will be used to deliver ‘The Future’, which aims to support and scale digital technology innovation across Suffolk and Norfolk in three critical ways: developing a local ecosystem with stronger connections between experienced entrepreneurs and the next generation of regional startups; developing a process for identifying, engaging and supporting early-stage startups and integrating them into the local community; and creating more opportunities for founders from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds who would not otherwise be able to commit to their venture full-time.

The Akcela team includes a number of prolific local entrepreneurs who have all built, grown and exited their own businesses such as Tom Wood, Martin Yapp and Peter Ballard. And is supported by a number of local partners including: Ashtons Legal, Triple Bottom Line Accounting, Adaptavist and Luminous PR. 

Barclays Eagle Labs director Amanda Allan added: “We are excited to be facilitating this funding to help Connected Innovation, alongside both Suffolk Council and Norfolk County Council, launch ‘The Future’ project. We are proud to be able to support such projects, which are designed to help early-stage tech entrepreneurs. 

“Our support for Connected Innovation and similar organisations highlights our ongoing commitment to support tech start-ups and scale-ups, which are vital to growing local economies throughout the UK.”

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