Grants are available through the government’s Business Basics Fund to help SMEs adopt proven technologies, become more productive and successful.
Britain is one of the best places in the world to start and grow a business, according to a government review. However, a productivity gap exists between the UK and international competitors, which means our businesses are not reaping all the benefits that they could be.
Adopting leading technologies, practices and support services – such as cloud computing, mobile technology and e-purchasing – can improve the productivity and earning power of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and in turn grow the wider economy.
The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Innovate UK have up to £2 million to prove and test ideas that enable small businesses to become more productive.
Investment is through the Business Basics Fund, part of the government’s Business Basics Programme to encourage SMEs to implement proven technologies and practices.
Yesterday, UK government announced the projects to be awarded £2 million through the first funding competition.
This includes a project with the retail and hospitality sectors to use AI technologies such as chatbots to improve customer experiences, and another to support greater digitisation in dairy farming.
Small Business Minister, Kelly Tolhurst said:
Small businesses are the backbone of our economy. As part of our modern Industrial Strategy, we are supporting them with new investments to boost their productivity and ensure they can continue to thrive in the future.
There are different competitions to apply into, depending on your organisation and the type of research and development being carried out. These are for:
Projects across all opportunities should look at how SMEs can become more productive through one or more of the following:
Specific considerations might also include:
Proof of concept awards are for ideas that are in early development.
Projects should encourage SMEs to adopt proven technologies or management practices that can boost their productivity.
The aim of trial projects is to test different approaches for encouraging SMEs and supporting adoption.
Projects should generate robust evidence about the most effective approaches to improving the productivity of SMEs. They should also build understanding of the short, medium and long-term impacts of such approaches.
Trials should plan to use a control group for testing and, if successful in the application process, register a trial protocol.
If you are a business and wish to lead a project, apply in the business-led trial competition.
If you are not a business but another type of organisation and wish to lead a project, apply in the non-business-led trial competition.