Funding Boost for Akcela Ventures to Support Digital Tech Startups in Norfolk and Suffolk

Akcela, Norwich's sole startup incubator, received a £110,000 grant from the Ecosystem Partnership Programme, an initiative led by Norfolk and Suffolk County Councils, Connected Innovation, and Barclays Eagle Labs to bolster the region's digital technology sector.

Founded by James Adams, Akcela planned to utilise the investment to expand its services, offering greater support to a diverse array of businesses, investors, entrepreneurs, and new business starters. This would be achieved through workshops, self-learning modules, and full incubation opportunities.

With the East of England having very few startup incubators, most of which are focused on London or Cambridge, this funding provided a substantial confidence boost for both Akcela and founders based in Norfolk.

James Adams, Founder and Managing Partner at Ackela, explains: “The latest funding is a huge vote of confidence in Akcela and its mission to create an environment that allows more Norfolk-based founders to start businesses that grow and thrive in this region, creating more jobs and attracting more talent to our region.”

The funding will be used to deliver ‘The Future’, which aims to support and scale digital technology innovation across Suffolk and Norfolk in three critical ways:

  • Developing a local ecosystem with stronger connections between experienced entrepreneurs and the next generation of regional startups
  • Developing a process for identifying, engaging and supporting early-stage startups and integrating them into the local community
  • Creating more opportunities for founders from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds who would not otherwise be able to commit to their venture full-time.

Barclays Eagle Labs Director, Amanda Allan, adds: “We are excited to be facilitating this funding to help Connected Innovation, alongside both Suffolk Council and Norfolk County Council, launch ‘The Future’ project. We are proud to be able to support such projects, which are designed to help early-stage tech entrepreneurs. Our support for Connected Innovation and similar organisations highlights our ongoing commitment to support tech start-ups and scale-ups, which are vital to growing local economies throughout the UK.”

Since its launch in September 2021, Akcela has become an industry-agnostic incubator, successfully supporting various emerging businesses in Norwich. Among these are Tech Educators, a coding bootcamp, and Thieves Studios, a local games developer, both of which have benefited from Akcela's resources to reach the market more swiftly and with greater confidence.

The Akcela team comprises several prolific local entrepreneurs, including Tom Wood, Martin Yapp, and Peter Ballard, all of whom have built, grown, and exited their own businesses. Akcela is further supported by local partners such as Ashtons Legal, Triple Bottom Line Accounting, Adaptavist, and Luminous PR.

James Allen, Connected Innovation Programme Manager, concludes: “We are delighted to be working with Akcela on this important programme for early-stage tech founders. Akcela is an important member of the Connected Innovation network with a great track record of supporting startups and scaleups across multiple tech sub sectors on their growth journey and to secure investment.”