Early Stage Businesses

We are working with early stage businesses to help them to accelerate their growth, providing support and experience on a range of issues businesses face, once they have moved past start-up phase.


We are working with small businesses to help them to accelerate their growth providing support and experience on a range of issues businesses face once they have moved past start up phase.


Typically our work covers areas of business and product start up and development...

  • Market development
  • Growth opportunities
  • Signposting funding/finance options
  • Signposting further business support mechanisms
  • Business and marketing development

About Us

The Essex Innovation Programme could potentially give you access to a range of specialist services to enable you to grow your business. We run a programme of practical, meaningful advice from an assigned specialist mentor across a range of specific business themes.  

For more information please email: EIP@essex.gov.uk

We’ve got to a certain size and have stalled.  We want to grow, how to do that?

This is a common question asked by businesses, one that requires an understanding of how you see your business and your goals for growth. Businesses want different things; to make money, to expand and become bigger, to work locally or internationally.  

We will work with you to do some to initially scope out what you are hoping to achieve, getting to know you and finding out what makes them tick.

Our team of experienced private sector business mentors will work with you free of charge over a number of sessions to establish where you want to go.  We’ll sit with you, talk it through, hear your aspirations, the details of your particular business and the markets in which you operate etc.  We’ll work with you to create a road map for growth with specific stages to deliver that growth. 

What funding options are available to me?

Funding, cash flow, capital expenditure etc are common questions and areas of work we deal with.  Finding the right funding stream for you, knowing how to access it, having contacts and putting together successful bids is an important part of our work. 

We will work with you to understand your need and from our knowledge of the funding/finance market, our contacts and our experience in developing finance/funding packages and bids we can help scope out the right solution for you, make the necessary introductions, use the right terminology etc and walk you through the process. 

How do I develop the right business plan to satisfy stakeholders?

Business planning is essential in setting out a road map for your business and in engaging and building trust with organisations who may be able to help you along the way.

Once we’ve set goals we work with you to develop a bespoke business plan. That plan will require different areas of expertise; marketing, branding, finding new market sectors, manufacturing or service based expertise, defining service type, adding value, finding clients, getting continuity of work etc. 

We have a team of experienced private sector mentors who have worked at an executive level in many international businesses and who also work with developing companies. Together they have a broad range of specific experience and expertise.  We will match you with right mentor to help develop your business. 

This is who we are and what we do, but we’re not getting anywhere? 

Auditing your business process - A fresh set of experienced eyes can unlock great potential in your company.  We work with you, do some analysis, dissect the results with you and introduce  you to to the right experts to move you forwards.  

There are so many competitors, how do I find a way to get ahead?

A big issue these days is promotion and visibility.  We live in a very competitive and connected world which can present small businesses with limited human resources with concerns (as well as opportunities). 

We have specialists who can work this through with you to maximise the potential of digital promotion, who can explain this and how to be effective in across the web and through social media channels and how to integrate this with your sales work and any PR work you may be doing. 

We also have great links to national  and international organisations that can help with research, marketing and giving you international reach to help promote your services and/or products right across Europe and/or find new suppliers.

I am nervous of the charges of a patent attorney . . .

We have worked with patent attorneys on issues to do with the protection of ideas through patenting, design regulation and trademarks for many years.  We can help you to access this expertise for free by introducing you to the right contact at the right time and with the right proposition. 

How can I appear sophisticated and corporate?

Branding - We have a wealth of experience and contacts  within the branding and marketing industry that can help transform businesses. ‘Seeing is believing’ and the brand representation of your business is key to making the right impression on clients and markets. 

We have been manufacturing our products for a while now and are now considering up-scaling our output and moving our production to the Far East . . .

You may be a small company who has been successful in the manufacture of your products in the UK/Europe and are now seeking to increase output and reduce cost by moving that production to the Far East. 

Whilst this does represent a huge opportunity for growth for UK companies, language barriers, time zones, distance, alternative business culture, concerns over plagiarism represent significant concerns for UK companies. 

Our experience in the Far East and our connections through Essex International mean we can help you scope out the best opportunity for your business, find and introduce you to the right buyers/partners and ensure that you are represented in market.

Helen Quinnell
Helen Quinnell

Innovation Manager

07918 904941


I work with innovative SMEs across Essex providing a range of support to enable business growth through the Essex Innovation Programme. This includes business mentoring for start-ups, early stage and established companies, signposting to funding and finance, as well as arranging networks and events to provide opportunities for business collaboration.