The Government has announced 15 projects picked to receive a share of a £2 million fund to help boost productivity and have launched the second round of funding, which can be applied for now.
Government investment in tech project trials
The fund is delivered in partnership with Innovate UK and Nesta, intended to fund innovative new projects that help businesses make better use of technology and modern management practices.
Among the 15 winning bidders are cutting-edge collaborations between businesses and groups including the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development (CIPD), Enterprise Nation, Universities, Cavendish Enterprise, government-backed Growth Hubs and local authorities.
The projects receiving funding include:
- Cavendish Enterprise, a national business support provider testing an innovative management development programme for micro-enterprises
- London-based Enterprise Nation, testing ways to encourage SMEs to adopt digital technologies such as cloud computing
- Greater London Authority, CognitionX, Capital Enterprise, and the London School of Economics, working together boost adoption of AI technologies like chatbots for the retail and hospitality sector.
- Locality, a London-based charity supporting local community organisations, piloting a scheme to increase the adoption of cloud-based accounting packages by community sector SMEs
- Devon County Council, completing a research project to help rural micro businesses adopt modern business practices
- Food Forward and the University of Surrey, developing an online tool for dairy sector SMEs to find proven technologies to accelerate production and boost productivity
- Cass Business School (City) in partnership with the University of Oxford, Bocconi University, London Growth Hub and Cavendish Enterprise, delivering a free, cutting-edge business support programme to hundreds of UK micro businesses, focused on systematic decision making
- The Skills & Growth Company, Siemens and RedEye, piloting the delivery of ‘Learning Journeys’ to help SMEs in Cheshire benefit from their expertise in using digital technology
- The Business Clinic at Northumbria University, running an education scheme whereby a group of business students participate in a ‘consultancy firm’ to provide free advice for clients
Small Business Minister Kelly Tolhurst said:
“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and 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.
“Today’s investment will support innovative projects that test how Government and private sector companies can help small businesses adopt a range of technologies and management practices that save them time and make them more efficient.”
Your chance to win a share of the next funding wave
Research from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) suggests that by encouraging more businesses to take advantage of existing technologies, management practices and business support (such as cloud computing, mobile technology and e-purchasing), the UK economy could receive a £100 billion boost and see a 5% reduction in income inequality.
So it’s unsurprising that a second wave of this funding has now been launched. Small firms, academia and local authorities can now apply for a share of the next wave of funding to help them become even more profitable via the roll out of existing productivity-boosting technology and management practices.
Dr Ian Campbell, executive chair of Innovate UK, said:
“Trying something new is a big step for any business, but true innovation enables firms grow.
“To solve the UK’s productivity puzzle, we need more firms to adopt new, but proven, technologies and novel ways of doing things so they can get ahead of the competition.”
The government has also published the Business Support Evaluation Framework, which will set out the quality standards that are expected for evaluations of BEIS-funded business support programmes and will enable the effectiveness of different policies and programmes to be compared.
Are you interested in bidding for a share of the new wave of funding?
The second round of the Business Basics Fund, once again worth £2 million, will fund 2 types of project: trials (both business-led and non-business led) and proof of concept. To apply for either type, all project work must be carried out in England and all selected projects must start by 1 September 2019. Projects can last up to a year.
For full details and application forms, visit the Business Basics Fund page.