UWE’s Innovation 4 Growth Programme Secures £1m for SMEs


West of England Growth Hub members could benefit from £1m of new funding, after the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) relaunched its highly successful Innovation 4 Growth (I4G) programme on 19 June 2017.

I4G part funds research and development projects with financial grants of between £10,000 and £75,000 (covering up to 35 per cent of total project costs) and is aimed at SMEs operating in any sector, with a presence in Bristol, Bath, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.

Financed through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), it aims to support these businesses to create new jobs, by part-funding the development of innovative products, technologies, processes and services.

Launching the new funding call at UWE Bristol's Frenchay Campus, Professor Martin Boddy, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Business Engagement, said: “We are delighted to be offering another round of I4G funding, this time focused on the West of England.

“Any SME in the area that is undertaking an innovation or research and development project should consider applying. We are offering a sliding scale of grants, from £10,000 to £75,000 so hopefully there is a funding option for a range of businesses – from start-ups and micro enterprises, to more established organisations. The application process is straightforward and UWE Bristol staff are available to provide hands-on support – in part through a series of confidential drop-in sessions which will be held across the area.

“Our three previous rounds of I4G funding enabled 80 South West SMEs to develop new innovations, leading to the creation of 542 new jobs and the safeguarding of 283 positions that would otherwise have been at risk of redundancy. Grant recipients were responsible for £14.9m of private sector investment being allocated to research and development activities. We are looking forward to this new round delivering similar benefits to the local economy, and helping individual SMEs to innovate and grow.

“We are also excited to be launching I4G alongside its sister programme, the Centre for Graduate Entrepreneurship, which is providing office space and business support to innovative graduate led start-ups, helping the West of England to retain and nurture entrepreneurial talent, and the University to build on its commitment to supporting enterprise.

“The Centre is located in the University Enterprise Zone at Frenchay Campus, which also houses the state-of-the-art Future Space business incubation facility and the Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL). We are very grateful for European Regional Development Fund monies that have made these initiatives possible, and to the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership for its role in facilitating what is a truly exciting offer for the area's business community.”

From now until Wednesday 12 July 2017 drop-in advice sessions for potential applicants will be offered at Future Space, at venues across Bristol and Bath, and in the University's new flagship £55m Bristol Business School building.

Expressions of interest can be made online at: www.innovation4growth.co.uk. If you would like a confidential discussion about a potential application, or require more general information about the scheme, contact the I4G Team on: innovation4growth@uwe.ac.uk.