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Over 200 small and micro companies to receive innovation and growth support

22 March 2011

The Technology Strategy Board is to provide grants for over 240 feasibility studies to help stimulate innovation and growth in a range of technology and application areas – and over 200 of the awards will go to small and micro companies.

The funding for the studies – totalling over £5 million – follows assessment of over 1500 applications to Technology Strategy Board-managed competitions for feasibility study funding in three areas – Technology Inspired Innovation, Digital Services and Innovation in Space. Each of the 243 studies will receive up to £25,000. In addition, the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA) is to support 32 of the Innovation in Space studies through grants totalling over £640,000.

Iain Gray, the Technology Strategy Board’s Chief Executive, said: "This investment in feasibility studies is part of the Technology Strategy Board’s commitment to stimulating innovation to help ensure that technology-driven businesses in the UK – and in particular small technology businesses – are well-equipped to respond to society’s current and future challenges and have the opportunity to grow. The development of small companies is vital to the UK’s future economic growth and prosperity, and over two-thirds of all commercial innovations originate in small companies. So we are investing in growth and nurturing a vital source of wealth-generating new technology.

"Small companies may be reluctant to invest in innovation because of the risk and the uncertainty around both the development and commercial exploitation of their ideas. Providing support through feasibility studies should help many innovative small businesses to overcome these barriers to growth."

Rob Douglas, Chairman of SEEDA, said: "SEEDA is delighted to be funding these feasibility studies together with the Technology Strategy Board. It builds on or work to harness the potential of space - one of the fastest growing sectors in the UK and one that will make a major contribution to the country's future economic success. The grants will support small businesses to access the facilities and expertise available through the International Space Innovation Centre (ISIC) and to develop the new commercial opportunities needed to create the jobs and growth to drive the Uk to the forefront of the global space industry."

The companies awarded funding through the Feasibility Studies for Technology-Inspired Innovation competition will focus their studies in one of six main areas: Advanced Materials; Biosciences; Electronics, Photonics & Electrical Systems; High Value Manufacturing; Information & Communications Technology and Nanotechnology. £2million has been awarded to 85 studies.

The 80 studies funded through the Feasibility Studies for Digital Services competition have been awarded a share of just under £1.9million. These studies will relate to areas such as: using data sources in the public domain; augmenting public sector provision of services to citizens, the "Internet of Things" and challenges to the adoption of cloud-based computing.

The Feasibility Studies for Innovation in Space competition, which is co-funded with the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA), resulted in funding awards totalling over £1.8 million for 78 studies. The Technology Strategy Board will invest £1.19 million while SEEDA will support 32 of the projects with grants totalling £644,000.

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