News - 01 July 2014

East Midlands businesses encouraged to bid for share of £400 million British Innovation funding

The Technology Strategy Board – the UK’s innovation agency – has today published its blueprint for growth, which outlines investments of over £400 million in British innovation.

Businesses from across the East Midlands are being encouraged to look at the range of specialist business support available and bid for a share of the funding.

150 organisations in the East Midlands received help/funding from the Technology Strategy Board in the last financial year.  These companies were awarded almost £17 million to support their collaborative research and development projects.

Universities and Science Minister David Willetts said:

“Businesses in the East Midlands are making great use of the funding available to help develop their innovations. The region has already seen over £17 million invested during the last year, which in turn helps to generate additional investment.

“I want to see even more businesses across the region bid for funding this year and help to keep the UK at the front of the global race for technology and innovation.”

One company that received funding last year was Aurora Computer Services, based in Rushden, Northamptonshire. The market leader in facial recognition technology would not have developed its technology without funding from the Technology Strategy Board.

Aurora CEO Hugh Carr-Archer is unequivocal about the value of Technology Strategy Board funding:

“We would not have embarked upon this project without Technology Strategy Board funding because it would have been too high risk.

“There is no question that we would have had to stick with infrared technology without the Technology Strategy Board funding award.”

The 2014-15 Delivery Plan sets out the Board’s priorities for accelerating innovation across the UK. It outlines an ambitious plan for developing and nurturing the very best of British entrepreneurial talent.

Through 88 new competitions, designed to find and fund top innovative ideas, key investment areas include:  

  • £82 million to energy 
  • £80 million will go to programmes in the healthcare sector
  • £72 million to support initiatives in high value manufacturing
  • £70 million to transport
  • £42 million for digital technologies.

Amongst the funding announcements today, are the launch of two new Catapult Centres – in precision medicine and energy systems – and the establishment of a permanent presence in Brussels to champion British innovation abroad.

Universities and Science Minister David Willetts added:

“We are global leaders in innovation and the Technology Strategy Board plays a crucial role in maintaining this, ensuring that great British ideas can be transformed into great British products.

“Innovation is booming in this country, and it is part of our long term economic plan to invest in ambitious entrepreneurs and businesses, to help them grow and succeed in the global race.”

Small businesses remain a key focus for the TSB and along with continued strong support for small and medium enterprises through Smart, The Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) and other programmes,

The Technology Strategy Board will introduce a new, UK-wide, small and medium-sized business growth programme, providing a package of skills, mentoring and coaching support, giving micro and small companies the capability to progress, attract potential investors and grow their businesses.

The Chief Executive of the Technology Strategy Board, Iain Gray, said:

“The 2014-15 Delivery Plan raises the Technology Strategy Board’s ambitions to a higher level, enhancing support for UK companies through a range of targeted programmes, opening up lucrative pathways into Europe and expanding facilities and opportunities for businesses to collaborate and innovate still further.”

To help match top innovators with possible investors there will also be a new online platform, developed in partnership with the British Business Bank and the UK Business Angels Association. This will showcase innovative companies to potential investors.

A further partnership – with the International Property Office and UK Trade & Investment will help small businesses access intellectual property and export advice.  

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