hethel innovation – ERDF project 2010 – 2015

In 2010, HIL successfully secured a £7.3M project, to be part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund. The 5-year program had two overall aims:

1) Build a 40,000SqFt Low-Carbon Advanced Manufacturing Centre


The 40,000sqft LCAMC was built to provide much needed innovation space for SMEs. It allowed the Hethel Engineering Centre to build upon its incubation space to provide grow-on and start-up space for new and expanding businesses.

The LCAMC comprises 2,500 and 5,000sqft units, accommodating 8 – 12 new manufacturing businesses, and opened in 2014.







2) An Innovation Business-Support Programme


The innovation-led business support programme aimed to engage and assist 600 and 200 SMEs respectively, to build regional low-carbon innovation networks, and collaborative, open innovation projects leading to the manufacture of new low-carbon products and services.

The programme strategically fitted with ERDF, through the provision of a framework for changing SME attitudes and approaches, and therefore:

  • encouraging greater knowledge exchange with universities and R&D institutions
  • facilitating more collaborations with other businesses
  • building stronger open innovation networks, sharing best practice and providing support
  • embedding cultures of low-carbon innovation,

The project was incredibly successful, and achieved at least 100% of targets were met – if not over-achieved. Over the course of 5 years, the program achieved the following outputs:

I really enjoyed our time at Hethel and the job you all do is amazingly professional and unequivocally, the friendliest, attentive and proficient service that goes far beyond expectation… thank you so much for looking after us, helping us, and being 100% reliable, 100% of the time.

Richard Woodward

Operations Manager, Oxifree

Hethel Innovation have been leading the way across the region in promoting the benefits of innovation.. Although Innovation Martlesham is in a completely different sector we have worked and collaborated with Hethel Innovation in order to promote Business to Business and cross sector innovation projects which have opened the eyes of many of the SME’s operating in both clusters to opportunities they had not considered. The open, collaborative and proactive leadership from Hethel Innovation bodes well for the future.

Ian Buxton

Chair, Innovation Martlesham

I am not overstating when I say we would not be where we are today without the backing from you, the HIL team.

Ansar Alli

Zenos Cars

Hethel [is a] fast growing hub of innovation small businesses… with a pioneering centre like Hethel we can be reassured that our region has a bright future ahead of it, making East Anglia and the A11 Innovation Corridor an enterprise hub for skills, opportunities and economic growth

George Freeman


An industrial work placement was a fantastic way to gain invaluable sector specific work experience, but equally important was the positive impact I was able to have on my host company. The project put me in direct contact with key members of Norfolk County Council, local companies and a business support hub which combined have led to my current employment at Proeon Systems Ltd.

Thomas Burke

UEA Environmental Science Student