Record Budget for Innovative SMEs
Minister announces biggest ever budget set aside to help small businesses grow through innovation…
David Willetts, the Universities and science minister, has announced a record £440 million budget for the Technology Strategy Board, the UK’s innovation agency.
The funding boost is up by more than £50 million on last year’s budget.
The latest Delivery Plan for 2013-2014 also includes planned investments and funding competitions over the next financial year.
The Technology Strategy Board works with pre-startups, startups and small and medium-sized businesses, identify high-growth innovatins that will help boost overall UK economic growth and output.
The Board connects business with academia to take ideas to a commercial level and independent research indicates that for every £1 spent through the Board, £7 is generated for the wider UK economy.
David Willetts said of the latest budget increase:
“The UK has some of the most innovative business in the world. The £440 million budget means that there will be more funding available than ever before for businesses across the country to bid for and help turn their ideas into reality – bridging the so called ‘valley of death’.”
“The Technology Strategy Board is making a real difference in driving growth and keeping the UK at the forefront of the global race for innovation. Over 60 per cent of funding is going to small and medium sized businesses, meaning that there are great opportunities for businesses to thrive, grow and generate jobs.”
Iain Gray, Chief Executive of the Technology Strategy Board, said of the Delivery Plan:
“Everything we do is driven by the desire to help UK business bring new ideas and technologies to market and so support economic growth. This Delivery Plan outlines the range of ways in which we do that, from direct funding through to access to expertise, facilities and finance.”
Some areas that have been highlighted to benefit from the increase in innovation investment include renewable energy, advanced materials, digital technology, satellites and healthcare.
As well as increased funding the Delivery PLan has also increased the opportunities for UK innovation to connect with global markets in India, China and Brazil with greater EU involvement and more bilateral agreements with other countries.
The budget will split into a £300 million pot for 75 new innovation competitions with £55 million earmarked for healthcare sector projects, £25 million for the energy sector, £20 million to transport projects and £25 million to high value manufacturing initiatives.
SMEs remain firmly a focus of the Technoloigy Startegy Board’s drive and the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) will have a budget increase up to £100 million over the financial year, doubling to £200 million in 2014/15.
The Innovation Vouchers scheme will also be expanded as will the SMART awards budget which will see £40 million in grants ring-fenced for SME R&D projects.