£500k funding for businesses in the West of England

Issue date: 18 June 2018

Grants of £10,000 to £75,000 are being made available to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the West of England, thanks to the relaunch of a highly successful funding scheme.

The Innovation 4 Growth (I4G) programme opened for the sixth time earlier this week and is inviting SMEs from across Bristol, Bath & North East Somerset, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire to submit grant applications by midday on Monday, 30th July 2018.

With £500,000 to give out, the popular University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) initiative will part-fund SMEs from any industrial sector to carry out research and development (R&D) projects aimed at developing new products, technologies, processes and services.

Eligible businesses (including start-ups, social enterprises and sole traders) can apply for grants covering up to 35% of total project costs, which can include consultancy, the purchase of equipment, technology, machinery and materials, testing, trials, market assessment and training. Projects must be completed by June 2019.

As a result of being supported through I4G - which is financed through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) - grant recipients will need to commit to the creation of new jobs in the West of England, thereby contributing to the area's economic health.

Over the past five years, the I4G programme has issued £7.4m of grants to 98 innovative SMEs. These enterprises have, in turn, invested £16m of their own private sector funds into R&D activity and have created or safeguarded more than 900 jobs across the region.

Expressions of interest can be made online at: www.innovation4growth.co.uk. For a confidential discussion about a potential application, or more general information about the scheme, contact the I4G Team on: innovation4growth@uwe.ac.uk.

The I4G programme is one strand of UWE Bristol's wider innovation, enterprise and business growth offering in the region. The University Enterprise Zone on its Frenchay Campus houses the Future Space business incubator and Bristol Robotics Laboratory (the UK's largest multi-disciplinary robotics research centre with its own incubation facilities).

The University's other ERDF-funded initiatives include Launch Space, which provides desk space and support for graduate entrepreneurs and is also based in the Enterprise Zone, and the Network for Creative Enterprise, operated in partnership with Watershed and offering free workspace and business support in the creative sector.

The project is receiving up to £2,000,000 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund in the UK. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding.

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