Grant helps job-creating nursery investment

A Suffolk nursery is investing in growing its own business, with the help of a grant from The Eastern Agri-Tech Growth Initiative.

Howard Nurseries is a wholesale supplier of plants to garden centres, garden designers and local authorities in the UK and abroad, counting Sandringham Flower Show among its clients and achieving a gold award at the  2015 Chelsea Flower Show.

It produces more than two million plants a year in more than 1,500 different varieties from its 170-acre site at Wortham near Diss.

The next stage in the company’s expansion involves taking plant label printing in-house, enabling the nursery to produce bespoke labels for customers.

The project cost of £60,000 has been reached thanks to a £15,000 growth grant from The Eastern Agri-Tech Growth Initiative, helping pay for a new professional printer and associated training.

The new technology replaces Howard’s current labelling system that is deemed as old fashioned and in recent years has resulted in the loss of potential new customers. It also avoids having to outsource to Europe for expensive professional plant labels.

Christine Howard, director of Howard Nurseries, said: “It was a two-year project and quite daunting at first, but we’re really pleased we went for it.

“So far this season we’ve really started to see the results – increased orders from customers, some good feedback, and it’s helping promote the Nursery and Suffolk generally.”

Mark Reeve, chairman of the Eastern Agri-Tech Growth Initiative Board and Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership, added: “The labelling project presented by Howard Nurseries demonstrates the opportunity to support significant local business growth that will create new jobs and protect existing employment.”

The Eastern Agri-Tech Growth Initiative is run by the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership (LEP) with support from New Anglia LEP, Norfolk County Council, Cambridgeshire County Council, and the local authorities covering this area.


Story by Laurence Kilgannon, Digital News Editor – Insider Media: