Julian Bowrey is Innovate UK’s Regional Manager for the East Midlands. He explains more about how they can support innovative ideas and local businesses.

“Innovate UK is the government’s innovation agency. We assist innovative businesses to grow by helping them develop their new products and services. Over the last 10 years, 150 Leicestershire companies have successfully won £81 million funding from our national competitions. We allocate funds through competitions and our latest SMART programme has £20 million to support companies. The closing date is on 24 April so there is still plenty of time to register your interest and consider a bid. Be warned it is highly competitive, but often people find going through the process helps refine their business idea even if they don’t win.

As well as the SMART Programme we run other themed competitions based on the Grand Challenges set out in the Government’s modern Industrial Strategy. So if you’re company has a particular interest in clean growth, the future of mobility, healthy ageing, and AI and the digital economy our website is worth a look.

Alongside grants, we are piloting innovation loans and partnerships with private investors.

As well as financial support the Knowledge Transfer Network and Enterprise Europe Network helps connect businesses with potential innovation partners, researchers and expert business advisors.

Although we are a national agency we also work closely with local Growth Hubs, university and other innovation hubs, so hopefully whatever the idea, businesses receive the right support. Sometimes that might be ‘great idea, no one will buy it, but have you thought of …’

We know that successful innovators often fail before they succeed. Many of our grants help companies develop prototypes to test new products or help scale up production to commercial viability.

If your business wants to innovate to grow, take a look at the funding opportunities we offer and sign up to our email alerts.”

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