Our team of private sector mentors have vast experience in working with, in & for large companies faced with growth aspirations & challenges & looking to drive innovation into their business.


Our team of experienced private sector mentors work with established companies across the county on projects to help companies to introduce new products, reach new markets, achieve sustainable business growth, link into local supply chains, access finance and work with research or academic partners.


Here our work covers topics related to business re-engineering, increased sales and profits, productivity and product development/diversification...

  • Lean process development work
  • Supply chain management opportunities
  • Human resource management including safeguarding jobs and job creation
  • Product and process innovation
  • Signposting to funding/finance options including investment in R&D
  • Access to academic knowledge, research and networks
  • Routes to global markets and international trade

About Us

The Essex Innovation Programme could potentially give you access to a range of specialist services to enable you grow your business and/or implement innovatative processes to better manage costs etc. 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:

How do I increase profitability?

Profitability can be increased by either increasing your sales, and/or reducing your costs.  EIP will appoint a mentor to work with you to see where there is growth potential, as well as to review your cost structure to see where savings can be made, and efficiencies improved.  We have worked with many companies performing a deep review of their business, structure and potential markets resulting in significant changes, savings and increases in profitability.

What funding is there for Research & Development?

Depending on the industrial sector your company is in there are a number of grants available, such as for low carbon projects.  There are also R&D tax credits where the costs of R&D can be offset against your profits to reduce the tax bill.  We have significant experience in the areas of funding, R&D and bid writing. EIP will appoint a mentor to help determine sources of R&D grants to suit your business.

How do I reach new markets?

There are many ways to reach new markets, such as exporting overseas, appointment new distributors and/or dealers.  UKTI offers many training courses on this topic.  EIP will appoint a mentor to work with you to increase your market share, and to reach new markets.  We have significant contacts with UKTI and there equivalents in other countries and can help you get a foothold in those markets as well as a significant China facing operation in our Essex International team.

How can Innovation improve business performance? 

One of the ways innovation can improve your business is by staying ahead of the competition.  If your company constantly innovates, you will create unique selling points that makes your company more interesting to your clients and gets you ahead of your competitors.  EIP will appoint a mentor to work with you though proof of concept stages and will help you to commercialise new ideas and create a business model around your innovation.

I need to raise some capital to get going, where do I find it?

There are many sources of finance, from debt finance (banks, institutions), grants (R&D, low carbon for example), angel investors (for seeds), crowd funding, venture capital and even patrons (people that like your idea and want to see it come to fruition, often donate small amounts) or sponsors.  We have a lot of experience of the varied ways in which you can attract funding/investment for your business and will work with you to understand your needs and the potential funding market best for your business.

I am not sure what my company is presently worth, how do I find an answer?

One of the ways to help to determine what a company is worth is by looking at similar companies and what they were worth at various stages of their development (e.g. at each round of financing, at IPO).  Another benchmark is by your sales turnover.  EIP will appoint a mentor to work with you to help to determine what your company is worth.

We’ve been trading for some time but now need to spin out a new venture, how does that work with funders? 

If you watch Dragon’s Den you’ll know that investors take calculated risks and the lower the risk, the happier the investor – typically an investor will want to invest in the overall venture, rather than a risky new venture.  The investor is investing in the people behind the business and not only the technology in a new venture.  Having said that, it all depends on the structure of the proposed investment.  EIP will appoint a mentor to help you to become ‘investment-ready’.

How can I grow rapidly? 

There are lots of ways to grow a business, including by entering new markets (e.g. exports), diversifying your products/services, increasing demand and concurrent production for new demand, increasing efficiencies.  EIP will appoint a mentor to work with you to see how your business could grow rapidly.

Emma Wakeling
Emma Wakeling

Business Innovation Manager

07921 397050


Leading on the Essex Innovation Programme and developing new support mechanisms to enable Essex businesses to grow. Managing a team of experienced private sector business mentors who work closely with multi-sectoral established businesses and start-ups to embed innovative practices. Focusing on product (including intellectual property), process, organisational and marketing innovation. Developing key collaborative strategic partnerships with industry and academia.