LoCASE: sustainability funding for small businesses

Sarah Buszard, Climate Action Project Support Officer and Kayra Salih, Energy Efficiency Officer (LoCASE) 21st June 2022

Sustainability really is the watchword these days and the Low Carbon Across the South and East (LoCASE) scheme is here to help. The LoCASE scheme is a free business support programme that aims to help small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) become more competitive and profitable while protecting the environment and encouraging low carbon solutions. LoCASE provides grants (with no payback, unlike a loan) of up to £10,000 and the grant will form up to 40% of the cost of an eligible project, with the remainder matched by the SME.

The business community is taking note and many businesses have contacted us for a LoCASE grant to help them reduce carbon emissions and save money on business energy bills by installing the latest energy efficient measures. Over 1,200 SMEs, including social enterprises, across the South East have benefited from a LoCASE grant since the scheme was launched in 2016.

In addition to providing funding to SMEs for energy efficiency upgrades to their operations, LoCASE can also fund business growth grants for SMEs in the low carbon and environmental goods and/or services sector. This could include marketing, consultancy, equipment, IT software, product/process development, and green credentials certification. So LoCASE is about more than just grant funding – it’s also about job creation (over 350+ jobs already created), innovation and development. 

Electric Vehicles

LoCASE can also assist with grants for second hand/nearly new Ultra Low Emission Vehicles (ULEV) as part of our commitment to support supply, create demand and speed up the transition of SMEs across the South and East to a fleet with lower operating costs and tail pipe emissions! Eligible businesses can typically expect to receive a 40% grant of anything up to £5K towards total costs on vehicles.

E-vehicle charging

STEM Workshops

The LoCASE project also runs free-of-charge workshops to help businesses operate in a more environmentally friendly way. This is called the Steps To Environmental Management (STEM) scheme and it has three stages so that businesses can progress at their own pace. It provides tools and templates to build an environmental management system aligned with the requirements of ISO 14001; a widely recognised international standard. Businesses that complete each level of the scheme receive an electronic certificate and a logo they can use to demonstrate their ongoing commitment to the environment. Boosting green credentials can save money and win new business opportunities. Please check the STEM website, and the calendar of workshops and events to sign up.

Case study

Vacuum Save is a circular economy business based in Chelmsford who specialise in looking after and repairing vacuum cleaners. 

Vacuum Save were looking to invest in marketing, as well as to improve the scheduling of its vans to reduce mileage. Within a few days of hearing about the grant scheme and with support from the LoCASE Team, the application was submitted and approved, and Vacuum Save was able to commence with the project.

The company was able to market its services and through implementation of scheduling, its fleet of vans have reduced mileage and therefore lower costs and emissions. They are able to do more jobs each day which has increased their revenue and enabled them to take on more staff.

Vacuum cleaner

For further information and to register your interest visit the LoCASE website. Here you can also discover more of our excellent case studies. Once you have registered your interest with us, we will be in touch to arrange a free assessment and energy audit, via an experienced energy advisor, so that getting your project off the ground will be as smooth as possible and will meet your business needs. There is plenty of funding still available to help SMEs – LoCASE funding is secure and available until Spring 2023. If you’ve already benefitted or know someone who has, don’t be afraid to share information about the programme by word of mouth. It’s not always easy being green, but this is a great place to start!