THE East of England Development Agency (EEDA) has secured £5.5million in funding to support the region s position as a global provider of innovative low-carbon goods and services. The extra finance, from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) will

THE East of England Development Agency (EEDA) has secured £5.5million in funding to support the region's position as a global provider of innovative low-carbon goods and services.

The extra finance, from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) will be available to companies carrying out low carbon research and development, and supplements the existing range of support available through EEDA's Business Map. The grants, ranging from £5,000 to £250,000, are part of a larger EEDA support package to maximise the potential of the region as it makes the transition to a low-carbon economy.

This package will include a £20 million low-carbon venture capital fund, also supported by the ERDF, to plug the current gap in finance for early-stage start-ups, and a further £7 million grant scheme to aid the exchange of commercial ideas between businesses and academic institutions.

By the end of 2010, there will be over £50 million available to help firms wanting to seize low carbon opportunities in the East of England.

Richard Ellis, chair of EEDA, said the money would help the East of England build on its strengths in ideas and innovation: "The East of England accounts for 10 per cent of UK exports from the low carbon and environmental goods and services sectors, a global market set to grow exponentially. The industry in the region is worth in excess of £10 billion, backed by links to world-class universities and research institutes working on low-carbon issues."

Barbara Follett, minister for the East of England, said: "This is really good news for the East of England. Our future prosperity relies on a low-carbon economy and we must seize the opportunities offered by this money to create new jobs and new skills. This new investment reinforces the extensive support already provided by the East of England Development Agency to encourage the growth of innovative and competitive enterprises in the region.