We caught up with Robert from the Haven Group to find out about how the I-Construct programme can help construction businesses and their suppliers access funding.

What is the I-Construct programme?

“I-Construct is a business support programme for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in, or supplying to, the construction and built environment sector. We’re here to help SMEs access new business opportunities, improve their profitability, increase their expertise, and achieve sustainable growth through innovation.”

What support does I-Construct offer? 

“We offer three modes of support to help eligible SMEs work on their business priorities:

  1. Free network membership 

    All eligible companies can become members of the I-Construct Network and access our member’s portal for free (worth up to £800). As well as being able to connect with other members, the portal offers access to our events programme, member news, and the ability to participate in or share business opportunities.

  2. Free business development supportUp to 9 hours of free mentoring and advice from our industry experts (worth £1,200). They have director-level experience working in the construction sector or supply chain, and are passionate about using their knowledge to help your business grow.
  3. Grant fundingWe also offer grants of £1,000 to £20,000 to part-fund the development and launch of a new product or service. The grant doesn’t have to be re-paid but we can only support up to 30% of the costs. Eligible projects should focus on innovation within the business, or improving digital systems. The money can be used for consultancy, software, hardware and the creation of a new role to manage the project.

You can learn more about the benefits of I-Construct on our website.”

Who is eligible for the I-Construct project?

“To be eligible for support, companies must be classed as an SME and be based in England only. We also welcome larger companies who are willing to support the growth of SMEs and promote innovation in the construction supply chain.

For our mentoring scheme, the business must want to achieve growth, access new markets or achieve process innovation.

To qualify for grant funding, they must have an innovation project in mind. If the SME is part of the construction sector, the project must improve productivity, capacity and capability. It must also contribute towards the sector innovation targets. Whereas, if the SME is part of the wider supply chain, the project must help clients to improve their performance in line with the sector targets. For a grant worth £2,001 to £20,000 your project must aim to launch a new product or service and create a new job.

For the complete eligibility criteria for companies and projects visit our website.”

Why is I-Construct important?

“There are a number of factors having an immediate effect on the housing market including the continuing impact of Covid-19, and the Brexit transition. On top of this the government has big strategic growth ambitions – more than 300,000 homes need to be built annually, and there are big infrastructure projects across the country. To manage this, we need solutions of all different shapes and sizes. This means it’s vital to involve both Tier 1 contractors and SMEs, using both traditional and new methods of construction.”

At the moment I-Construct is helping SMEs navigate themselves through an uncertain market, but our aim is to give them the support to grow their business and build a brighter future.

How can I apply for I-Construct?

The easiest way to get involved is to complete the expression of interest form on our website. You can also email us at i-construct@haven-gateway.org or call 07739 971 656. We’ll then be in touch to check your eligibility and, hopefully, welcome you to the network.