Government provides £75million to support SMEs

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The government has announced it is to provide £75million of additional funding targeted at SMEs, as part of an incentive to spur companies to innovate and grow.

The Innovation and Research Strategy follows the inclusion in last week's Autumn Statement of additional funding to support technology innovation and reveals that some of the funding will be delivered to businesses by the Technology Strategy Board. TSB chief executive, Iain Gray said: "A good deal of the innovation that happens in the UK comes from SMEs, and with innovation comes business growth. This new package of measures will help to put these businesses at the forefront of the country's economic recovery. This package enables the Technology Strategy Board to do even more to stimulate business led innovation in its leading role as the UK's innovation agency." Additional funding will be made available for the Smart scheme, which offers funding to SMEs to engage in R&D projects from which successful new products, processes and services could emerge. Further funding will be made available for the SBRI programme, which focuses on innovative companies engaging with the public sector. The TSB has announced it will extend its Launchpad initiative, providing base funding for approved R&D projects and then acts as a catalyst to help the companies behind the projects to attract more investment. The initiative will be extended to support new and emerging clusters in other parts of the UK. A new innovation voucher programme has also been unveiled by the TSB, to support collaboration between SMEs and external knowledge providers, such as universities and new technology and innovation centres – Catapult centres. Working with a range of partners, the TSB also plans to develop initiatives to stimulate innovation across the UK, such as: £25m investment to enable large scale demonstrators in areas such as integrated systems for cities; investment in R&D in emerging technologies, with an initial focus on synthetic biology, energy efficient computing and energy harvesting; working with BIS and the Research Councils to establish a joint fund with the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology to pilot cofounded bilateral research; and additional assistance to help businesses to secure greater levels of EU finance to support R&D – including a review of the support system for potential UK proposers to EU funding programmes. The TSB plans to provide further information about how the additional £75, will be delivered in due course.