From today, small businesses in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire will be able to access free innovation support as a result of a new £20.3m programme being run by three local universities.
‘Enabling Innovation’ is a three year collaborative programme involving the University of Derby, Nottingham Trent University and The University of Nottingham, which will provide support to over 2,000 local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) over three years.
£10.1m funding is being awarded to the three universities via the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), using funds secured by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), with an additional £10.2m being invested in the project by the universities.
Stimulating research and innovation
The objective of Enabling Innovation is to stimulate interest and investment in research and innovation within small and medium-sized businesses in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire.
The programme will focus on developing supply chains in key sectors of particular relevance to the D2N2 LEP area including life sciences, creative and digital industries, transport equipment manufacturing and food and drink manufacturing.
Focusing on ‘enabling technologies’, it aims to stimulate an innovation ecosystem designed to commercialise cutting edge R&D, support product and process innovation within SMEs and drive innovation through supply chains.
Services for small businesses
The three universities will be offering a wide range of services for SMEs through Enabling Innovation, including:
- In-depth support for businesses in sectors such as manufacturing, materials engineering, computing and data, aerospace, food and drink, chemistry and satellite navigation - offering unprecedented access to university expertise and graduate talent.
- Workshop programmes designed to help businesses to innovate, explore new ideas and unlock their growth potential.
- Leadership and management development, including mentoring.
- Support for businesses to take on graduates via placement opportunities, allowing them to explore the benefits of employing graduates.
Dr George Baxter, Director of Research, Enterprise and Graduate Services at The University of Nottingham, commented: “Small businesses right across Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire will be able to benefit from Enabling Innovation and tap into the expertise offered by three universities. This wide-reaching programme really has the potential to enable local businesses to make a step change in the way they work, giving them a competitive advantage in their marketplace and helping them to grow and create new jobs.”
Mike Carr, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Employer and Economic Engagement) at Nottingham Trent University, said: “This is a really exciting opportunity to meet with new businesses and support their ideas for innovation. It is our hope and intention that many of these companies will start an ongoing relationship with the university that could provide interesting opportunities for knowledge exchange, graduate employment and experiential teaching and learning while also supporting local economic growth.”
A step change in innovation
Professor Paul Stewart, Research Chair in Energy and Environment and programme delivery lead at the University of Derby said: “This major investment initiative shows the commitment of the Universities in the region to engage with and support SMEs who are the cornerstone of the UK economy. The programme will deliver step changes in innovation, competitiveness and profitability to a large number of firms across the region, with associated benefits in employment and growth. The activity will strengthen existing collaborative links between the universities, and grow long-term relationships between academia and industry.”
Businesses interested in finding out about the support offered through Enabling Innovation should contact the D2N2 Growth Hub on 0333 006 9178 or visit www.d2n2growthhub.co.uk
More information is available from:
Nick King, Marketing Projects Manager, University of Nottingham, 0115 82 32184, or firstname.lastname@example.org
Kirsty Green, Press Officer, Nottingham Trent University, on 0115 848 8799 or email@example.com
Alice Oliver, Head of News, University of Derby, on 01332 592032 or email A.Oliver@derby.ac.uk
Notes to editors:
• European Regional Development Fund
The projects are to receive funding from the European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Department for Communities and Local Government (and in London the intermediate body Greater London Authority) is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. 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.