What have we done for you 2022 12 Supporting business and our high streets High streets connect communities, but they have faced unprecedented challenges during and since the pandemic. To support them, we’ve launched several initiatives. Our Innovate Local scheme was launched to create new business opportunities, increase visitor numbers and give start-ups a great place to trade. It has three types of support: • Pilot market stalls for start-ups • Creating permanent innovation hot desk spaces in rural market towns • Creating pop-up innovation space in vacant units For example, the council offered free market stalls in Hadleigh for six months during 2021. We provided start-up business owners with the infrastructure - like gazebos, business support and advice - to start trading. This work has been carried out with support from the Suffolk Inclusive Growth Investment Fund. We also piloted Virtual High Streets in Sudbury in October 2020, connecting shoppers with 176 local traders through an online platform. It has since been rolled out to other towns in Babergh and Mid Suffolk: • Hadleigh (65 businesses) • Needham Market (39) • Eye (19) • Stowmarket (109) There were 52,000 online views of businesses on the platform and to date we have generated more than £500,000 of additional value for local, small businesses. More than 40 businesses have also accessed free digital support and training through a programme delivered in partnership with business support agency MENTA. Helping the local economy £43,865,548 in Covid-19 business grants, including £15.2m to small businesses and £7.5m to retail, hospitality and leisure. £1,718,500 of external funding secured for growth and climate change projects, including £750,000 to public sector decarbonisations and £400,000 to solar carports. £1,964,216 in external government grants, with £1m used in shared prosperity fund and £621,369 in the Rural Development Fund. 137 young people aged 13-24 attended free Careeriosity events to connect with local employers.