Issue date: 29 April 2014
Employers across the South West with big ideas, have the opportunity to tap into a multi-million pound funding pot to boost business growth and innovation through visiting www.southwest-innovation.co.uk – but they will need to be quick off the mark.
Two schemes announced this week by the UWE Bristol are offering grants of up to £150,000 to support research, innovation and development projects. Potential applicants have until Friday 23rd May to pitch their ideas.
At a recent launch event, Professor Martin Boddy, who leads on research and business engagement at the University, explained how the schemes will support a wide range of regional businesses.
He said, “We are delighted to be launching Round Two of our Innovation 4 Growth (I4G) scheme. This covers up to a third of the cost of innovation and development projects, helping businesses overcome technical challenges and develop new products and services.
“Businesses from any sector can apply, including small enterprises and large, established employers.
“This time around, I4G is complemented by a second funding stream - 'Innovation Vouchers', targeted at small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) with up to 250 employees. This will enable them to access academic expertise, student support and university facilities, to develop ideas or improve performance. It provides 40% 'cashback' on projects with a total value of up to £10,000.
“Over the past five years, UWE Bristol has led a number of innovation support projects, including the South West iNets, which have engaged with hundreds of the region's most promising SMEs. This experience has taught us that businesses benefit from access to schemes that recognise their diverse needs and offer different levels of support.”
“These two funding opportunities will enable us to engage with businesses at various stages of development, from large, well established companies, to start-ups, micro enterprises and sole traders that might be considering working with a university for the first time.”
The Innovation Voucher and I4G schemes (financed by the European Regional Development Fund and the UK government's Regional Development Fund respectively) close for applications at midday on Friday, 23rd May 2014. Potential applicants are advised to express an interest in one, or both, schemes as soon as possible.
Dedicated UWE Bristol advisors will be available to provide advice and support to applicants in the coming weeks, with a series of drop-in application guidance sessions to be announced. Businesses will be advised if their Innovation Voucher applications have been successful in early June, with I4G decisions announced shortly after.
SMEs and large companies from across Bristol, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Somerset, Dorset, Devon and Cornwall, are able to apply to I4G, while the Innovation Vouchers programme is limited to SMEs only and excludes businesses based in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
Further details of both schemes and the online registration of interest forms can be found at: www.southwest-innovation.co.uk