CUTTING-edge companies in the East of England are set for a cash injection of £8.5million to fund research and development and validate the marketability of new ideas that could help the region lead the country into economic upturn. Grants for research an

CUTTING-edge companies in the East of England are set for a cash injection of £8.5million to fund research and development and validate the marketability of new ideas that could help the region lead the country into economic upturn.

Grants for research and development of hi-tech products and Proof of Concept Funds - which help businesses to test the market for new business ideas - have benefited from a major cash injection by the European Regional Development Fund. The new ERDF money aims to encourage more applications from companies developing low-carbon projects.

The East of England Development Agency's chief executive Deborah Cadman said: "There is no doubt that it remains a tough time for businesses, and EEDA's number one priority is to make sure companies in this region are well prepared to weather the storms.

"But, despite the downturn, there are still businesses across the East of England - the UK's 'ideas region' - developing new products and looking to conquer tomorrow's markets. It is ambition like this that can help drive the UK out of recession.

"The importance and potential impact of our £8.5 million investment in innovative businesses should not be underestimated. We know, from recently commissioned reports, that typically every £1 that EEDA invests delivers a return of between £3.70 and £5.80 for the region."

INFORMATION: Details of the Government's Real Help for Business portfolio can be found on Business Link's website, www.businesslink.gov.uk/realhelp. For more on EEDA's grants for innovative businesses visit www.eeda.org.uk/financeforinnovation