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The West of England Growth Hub provides 360-degree business support for SMEs.

Drive growth through new markets, networks and digital technology. Request a call-back today. 

Below we've outlined the technology and innovation support services and programmes we offer so you can lead digital transformation, improve your digital presence and find new customers. 

 

Business Innovation Fund - currently open for applications

Get funding and expertise to help accelerate innovation in your business and bring new products, processes and services to market. 

The Business Innovation Fund can award grants to eligible businesses to progress research, development and innovation.

 

Building your business's digital presence

Get free, expert business support to grow your digital presence and increase online sales. We are standby to analyse your requirements and pair you with one or more of our expert partners to support you to:

  • Develop an online presence, for example creating a new website or social media presence;
  • Increase engagement with customers online, such as developing your digital marketing strategy or adopting a new customer relationship management system;
  • Start selling products online, for example setting up an ecommerce platform.

Carbon Surveys

The West of England Combined Authority offer small & medium sized enterprises (SMEs) a free Carbon Survey and Decarbonisation Report. A Carbon Survey can support businesses to understand their energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. The resulting Decarbonisation Report sets out potential improvements that could help reduce emissions and energy bills.

Carbon Surveys and Green Business Grants are funded from the European Regional Development Fund and West of England Recovery Fund. 

The West of England Low Carbon Challenge Fund is open to eligible applicants across Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire. A total of £1.7m in grant funding is available from the European Regional Development Fund. 

 

 

Understand digital better with Digital Boost

Our partner Digital Boost offers free mentoring, workshops, courses and content to help you understand digital better. Sign up today and you'll get access to:

Mentoring Calls

  • Free 1-on-1 mentoring tailored to your needs
  • Speak one-on-one with a digital expert, who’ll provide you with practical help and advice in only 60 minutes.

Webinars and Workshops

  • Hands-on webinars to boost your business
  • Join one of many interactive masterclasses on SEO, Facebook Ads, payment systems and more.

Resource Library

  • Free resources to upgrade yourself and your business
  • Learn at your own pace with access to our comprehensive library of learning content from articles to online courses.

Future Fund: Breakthrough

Future Fund: Breakthrough is open for applications. The UK-wide programme will deliver £375m of government funding via British Patient Capital, a commercial subsidiary of the British Business Bank. 

Through the Future Fund: Breakthrough programme, British Patient Capital will make equity co-investments with private sector investors in later stage R&D-intensive UK companies operating in breakthrough technology sectors, such as quantum computing, cleantech and life sciences.

Key benefits

• Focused on R&D intensive companies

• Minimum total investment round size of £30m

• Potential investee companies must have raised at least £5m in previous funding rounds

• Potential investee companies must be UK based, with significant UK operations

• The application must be made by a lead investor

How does it work?

Future Fund: Breakthrough is an investor-led programme, which means funding applications can only be made by a qualifying lead investor and cannot be made by companies themselves. In order to start the application, the investor must complete an online application form, which will provide an initial assessment of their eligibility to act as a lead investor.

Bristol Airport’s new fund to support innovative research and projects to decarbonise aviation is now open

The £250,000 Aviation Carbon Transition (ACT) Programme is open to any organisation or business in the South West, or businesses with innovative projects applicable at Bristol Airport. The ACT Programme is a fund to kick start and fast track decarbonisation initiatives in the South West, focusing on ‘Scope 3’ emissions from flight and transport at Bristol Airport. These Scope 3 emissions are those outside the airport’s own operations, such as planes and passenger road transport.

The ACT Programme will make individual grants of up to £50,000 to organisations developing technology that could help the aviation industry transition to zero carbon emission flight. As this is the inaugural year of the Act Programme, Bristol Airport are not capping the number of applications being awarded and will look favourably on matched funded projects.

Applications can be made through the airport’s website.

Projects should address at least one of the following priority areas:

  1. Hydrogen including storage, handling, aircraft refuelling/defueling, distribution, and associated technologies at Bristol Airport.
  2. Electric including charging, storage, handling, batteries, electric distribution, and associated technologies at Bristol Airport.
  3. Local projects to generate positive carbon reduction which can be used to offset emissions from Bristol Airport where applicable.
  4. Research into new technologies and future demand scenarios for airside use of green hydrogen and electricity at Bristol Airport.

Set your sights higher with the Leo Programme

The UK Space Agency’s Leo Programme is inviting applications from companies to take part in its business support accelerator designed to support companies that are post proof of concept, to take their business to the next stage. They are looking for 20 high-growth and high-potential businesses to join the application-only Leo Programme - a six-month bespoke, one-to-one accelerator programme.

This world-class programme is uniquely designed to support scaling companies from both the space industry and from adjacent sectors to grow their business at pace in this dynamic industry. Many entrepreneurs and businesses don't currently realise the opportunities that space presents to them. We're determined to raise awareness and present those opportunities to as many businesses as possible in order to grow the space industry. Join the programme and you’ll get:

  • A focus on building competitive, productive, sustainable business models 
  • Intensive entrepreneurial mindset and behaviours workshops
  • 1:1 access to a range of academics and industry specialists

New Toyota Startup Accelerator now open to EU and UK Tech Firms

Working in partnership with ISDI Digital Business School, Toyota has launched an accelerator programme to support EU and UK tech start-ups. Forming part of Toyota’s Environmental Challenge 2050, the scheme will target businesses proposing innovative breakthrough solutions in the start-up ecosystem.

Up to 20 start-ups will be selected as finalists to pitch in a Jury Day and compete to enter the Toyota Startup Accelerator programme. Solutions can be hardware, software or a combination of both.

A total of €100,000 of equity-free funding will be awarded to five start-ups to develop a Proof of Concept with Toyota. Each successful business will receive up to €20,000 of equity-free funding. Participants will also benefit from time spent with experts, mentors, speakers and key Toyota employees. Additionally, they will receive free services and discounts, such as Amazon Web Services, Braintree, and more.

Small and medium-sized (SME) innovative start-ups from across the EU and UK may apply. Your start-up must be legally established, or will be legally established, before the start of the programme. You must have at least one MVP (Minimum Viable Product) fully developed. You should have TRL (Technology Readiness Level) of 6 or more, preferably with sustainable competitive advantages, although this is not a requirement.

The sponsor is looking for start-ups that have solutions that focus on any of these four broad verticals: Mobility for All; Carbon Neutral; Circular Economy of Plastics; and Life Cycle Footprint Ecosystem.

The deadline to apply is 14 September 2021 (23:59 CEST).

West of England Sustainable Technologies Scale-Up Programme

SETsquared, alongside the University of Bath, has launched a new business support programme aimed at SMEs interested in exploring how innovation to become more sustainable can benefit their business or who are already developing a sustainable technology. The new West of England Sustainable Technologies Scale-Up Programme is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and will help accelerate the growth of 155 SMEs over the next 3 years.

The primary support will be provided through a Sustainability Workout – an online workshop which will help SMEs scrutinise their existing business model, understand their sustainability challenges and use sustainability and circular economy principles as key drivers for innovation. There are many business benefits to taking this approach including reduced costs, strengthened customer relationships and improved supply chain resilience.

National Aerospace Technology Exploitation Programme

 

NATEP Autumn 2021 & Spring 2022 Call - Now open

The Aerospace Growth Partnership developed the National Aerospace Technology Exploitation Programme (NATEP) aimed at small and medium sized suppliers to help them develop their own innovative technologies to enhance their capabilities and increase their ability to win new business with higher tier companies anywhere in the world.

If you would like to get involved or find out more then please contact enquiries@weaf.co.uk.

The Digital Engineering Technology and Innovation initiative (DETI)

DETI is starting as a two-year, research and development (R&D) initiative in the West of England. It will bring together advanced engineering companies, digital technology pioneers and universities to push the boundaries of digital engineering for the future, to help UK businesses maintain engineering leadership. DETI will help companies identify and develop the tools, technologies and processes they need to rapidly accelerate digital engineering capabilities and identify the skills needed to embed digital.