Marches LEP

Marches Growth Hub

The Marches Growth Hub offers a single point of access to information and guidance on business grants, loans, support and advice available to enterprises across the region, regardless of sector or size of development.

The virtual hub is a business-friendly website, where start-ups, SMEs and large employers can search for products and services and be signposted to advice and support. Alongside the website, hub sites have opened in Telford, Shrewsbury and Hereford, which are part funded by the European Regional Development Fund enabling the Marches Growth Hub to work with businesses to diagnose their support requirements and advise on suitable options from the plethora of available schemes that can assist business growth and development.

Innovate UK EDGE

Innovate UK EDGE provide a range of services to help ambitious, innovative SMEs scale and grow through:

  • Exploiting innovation: By protecting and harnessing IP, improving innovation management and connecting to the innovation ecosystem globally. In addition to Sector Innovation Leads at Innovate UK, they have strong relationships with ecosystem players including Catapults, Laboratories, KTN, the investor community and universities
  • Entering new markets
  • Sourcing funding and finance

Business Environmental Support Scheme for Telford

The Business Environmental Support Scheme for Telford (BESST) is a partnership between local private and public sector businesses. Our role is to assist businesses to improve their environmental performance, in order to boost competitiveness and reduce their impact on the environment.

There is a well documented link between good environmental practice and economic performance and through BESST local businesses have a forum to exchange new ideas and share best practice at workshops and a variety of topical events.

Meres & Mosses Business Environment Network

Meres and Mosses Environment Network brings together organisations from across the Meres and Mosses Nature Improvement area to share best practice and demonstrate their commitment to environmental best practice. Their mission is to enhance the environmental performance and profitability of local businesses by sharing knowledge and understanding and to help businesses to reduce their environmental impact on the landscape of the Meres and Mosses, whilst developing a greater understanding of the importance of the long term sustainable future of this area.

Herefordshire Business Futures Forum

The Business Futures Forum is free to join and provides a network of support and information for local businesses looking to increase their efficiency and profitability while enhancing their sustainability and reducing their environmental impact. Forum meetings are held quarterly and focus on a range of topics, such as energy, resource efficiency, transport, waste, operations efficiency, grants, funding and legislation. Meetings focus wherever possible on case studies and tours of members premises.


The Centre for Research into Environmental Science and Technology (CREST) is based at University Centre Shrewsbury (UCS), Shropshire. It is one of four funded business support programmes operating out of UCS and targeting the Marches LEP area. CREST offers support to SMEs who want to reduce their environmental impact, or develop new products or services. CREST’s multi-disciplinary team of experts works closely with SMEs to design, develop and bring new products and services to market; develop processes to save time and/or money; understand markets (e.g. market research, introduction to buyers and suppliers) and develop successful business models.


Grants and support are available to Marches SMEs on a broad range of sustainability issues. We’ve listed just a few of these below:

AGRI – Agri-tech Growth and Resources for Innovation: The AGRI project provides a free innovation support service to eligible SMEs who want to become more innovative or active within the Agri-tech sector. The support will involve a combination of workshops and one-to-one business advice, which may include assistance with technology development or application.

BEEP – Business Energy Efficiency Programme: supports eligible businesses to become more environmentally friendly, and in doing so, save money on energy costs. The support on offer is twofold – firstly to assess your business premises, products and processes to see what improvements can be made with energy usage and secondly, to provide grants of up to £20,000 (up to 40% of the total cost of the project) to implement the recommendations from the assessment and make your business more energy efficient.

EBRI – Energy & Bioproducts Research Institute (EBRI): EBRI leads and delivers a range of research projects and collaborations with partners in the West Midlands, UK, Europe and beyond. Projects focus on the adoption of bioenergy technologies in both urban and rural settings and the provision of support to businesses to enable them to make informed bioenergy decisions. Support is available to SMEs wanting to develop low carbon goods and services.

Smarter Choices has been government funded to bring together and test the latest financing and monitoring technologies into a single online platform to provide straightforward building energy-saving solutions. To develop this new service, SMEs with energy bills above £20,000 per year can now access a limited number of free energy assessments and free measurement & verification equipment for pilot projects which proceed to installation.