Universities help businesses to innovate through new £20m programme

June 16, 2016 10:18 am

Small businesses in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire can now 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.

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.

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

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