Enabling Innovation Announcement

D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership has pumped more than £10m into an initiative that will support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.

The £20.3m Enabling Innovation scheme will be led by co-investors Nottingham Trent University, the University of Derby and the University of Nottingham.

D2N2 has ploughed £10.1m into the project, which is aiming to support 2,000 SMEs over the next three years.

The universities will give businesses access to specialist technology centres and expertise, as well as business development workshops and help with business projects.

Peter Richardson, chairman of D2N2, said: “This will help hundreds of SMEs access expert help, to innovate and grow their business; creating jobs in our key economic sectors including food and drink manufacturing, life sciences and transport equipment manufacturing.

“This is a significant boost towards the LEP achieving its over-arching target of helping create 55,000 additional private sector jobs over ten years and growing the number of businesses.”

Midlands Business Insider – 25th May 2016


Universities help businesses to innovate through new £20m programme.

From today, small businesses in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire will be able to access free innovation support as a result of a new £20.3m programme being run by three local universities.

‘Enabling Innovation’ is a three year collaborative programme involving the University of Derby, Nottingham Trent University and The University of Nottingham, which will provide support to over 2,000 local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) over three years.

£10.1m funding is being awarded to the three universities via the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), using funds secured by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), with an additional £10.2m being invested in the project by the universities.

The objective of Enabling Innovation is to stimulate interest and investment in research and innovation within small and medium-sized businesses in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire. The programme will focus on developing supply chains in key sectors of particular relevance to the D2N2 LEP area including life sciences, creative and digital industries, transport equipment manufacturing and food and drink manufacturing. Focusing on ‘enabling technologies’, it aims to stimulate an innovation ecosystem designed to commercialise cutting edge R&D, support product and process innovation within SMEs and drive innovation through supply chains.

The three universities will be offering a wide range of services for SMEs through Enabling Innovation, including:

• In-depth support for businesses in sectors such as manufacturing, materials engineering, computing and data, aerospace, food and drink, chemistry and satellite navigation – offering unprecedented access to university expertise and graduate talent.
• Workshop programmes designed to help businesses to innovate, explore new ideas and unlock their growth potential.
• Leadership and management development, including mentoring.
• Support for businesses to take on graduates via placement opportunities, allowing them to explore the benefits of employing graduates.

Professor Paul Stewart, Research Chair in Energy and Environment and programme delivery lead at the University of Derby said: “This major investment initiative shows the commitment of the Universities in the region to engage with and support SMEs who are the cornerstone of the UK economy. The programme will deliver step changes in innovation, competitiveness and profitability to a large number of firms across the region, with associated benefits in employment and growth. The activity will strengthen existing collaborative links between the universities, and grow long-term relationships between academia and industry.”

Mike Carr, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Employer and Economic Engagement) at Nottingham Trent University, said: “This is a really exciting opportunity to meet with new businesses and support their ideas for innovation. It is our hope and intention that many of these companies will start an ongoing relationship with the university that could provide interesting opportunities for knowledge exchange, graduate employment and experiential teaching and learning while also supporting local economic growth.”

Dr George Baxter, Director of Research, Enterprise and Graduate Services at The University of Nottingham, commented: “Small businesses right across Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire will be able to benefit from Enabling Innovation and tap into the expertise offered by three universities. This wide-reaching programme really has the potential to enable local businesses to make a step change in the way they work, giving them a competitive advantage in their marketplace and helping them to grow and create new jobs.”

Businesses interested in finding out about the support offered through Enabling Innovation should contact the D2N2 Growth Hub on 0333 006 9178 or visit www.d2n2growthhub.co.uk

Joint universities press release – 24th May 2016