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When developing products and services, you should consider all the options available to you, including business grants, support from universities, intellectual property, and finding partners for collaboration.

Ashfield Accelerator Project: Innovation and Digital Technology

This is being delivered by East Midlands Chamber and is funded by the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF). It forms part of our new Accelerator Programme and offers support to local businesses to improve commercial operations and bring new products to market. SMEs will have access to specialist consultants to explore and adopt new technologies and take advantage of any national programmes, such as Innovate UK EDGE and Made Smarter.

Create Growth Programme

This is a new investment programme from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and is available for creative businesses in Nottinghamshire. It's been designed to bring expert advice and guidance to help creative businesses with high growth aspirations to gain investment opportunities to innovate and grow. To be eligible, your business must demonstrate high-growth potential, have the ambition to scale up with sales revenues generated in the last 2 years, and you must now be seeking investment for growth.

Business grants

East Midlands Health Innovation Fund

The Health Innovation Fund is a funding program aimed at supporting late-stage innovations that are ready for NHS uptake. If you're an SME based in the East Midlands or collaborating with a healthcare system partner in our region, you may be eligible to receive financial support ranging from £5,000 to £10,000. This initiative presents a golden opportunity for successful deployment and scaling, offering the potential for rapid economic return to our region. This fund is open to receive applications from 1 January to 1 March 2024.

Horizon Europe Funding

Horizon Europe is the EU’s research and innovation funding programme. It has a budget of €95.5 billion and runs until 2027. If you are a UK-based researcher, innovator, or organisation, then you can apply for most Horizon Europe funding opportunities on the same terms as EU-based applicants.

It is divided into 3 Pillars:

Innovate UK - Edge

If your company is innovation-driven and growing and you want to take it to the next level, then we recommend you contact Innovate UK Edge. They have a team of experienced innovation and growth specialists who can help you. They provide a bespoke support service to help local businesses find and access the resources they need to innovate, exploit, and internalise their products and services. They are a key part of the UK Innovation Agency’s investment to drive economic growth across the UK and they work with industry sector specialists that can support all types of businesses.

Innovate UK - KTN

If you are looking for experienced input into your idea, product, service, research, or challenge, then KTN can help with connections spanning business, government, funders, research, and the third sector. KTN also deliver the ‘Knowledge Transfer Partnerships’; a national programme that brings together new skills and the latest academic thinking to deliver specific, strategic innovation projects, through a knowledge-based partnership. They can work with any established business including social enterprises, but not start-ups.

Solid Edge for Start-ups

The Solid Edge for Start-ups programme provides eligible start-ups with free access to a complete solution for product development, including CAD, CAM, and CAE software. This is open to small or medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) who have been operating for less than 3 years, and are registered at Companies House.

Support from Universities

The Omnifactory

The Omnifactory is a new £3.8 million facility opened by the University of Nottingham that will revolutionise the world of manufacturing, making it more efficient and cost-effective. It is a state-of-the-art concept factory where different digital technologies can be implemented to improve traditional manufacturing practices. The way it works is it contains a bespoke test bed floor, which provides a unique reconfigurable environment. The floor autonomously adapts itself to the next product’s environment and specifications, reshaping itself through a combination of digital technologies, robotics, and artificial intelligence.

This facility is available to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Support with IP and Patents

Research and development (R&D) tax credits

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can claim for R&D relief if a research and development project seeks to achieve an advance in overall knowledge or capability in a field of science or technology, through the resolution of a scientific or technological uncertainty.

Intellectual Property

IP Audit Plus

An audit allows you to gain a clearer picture of your intellectual property (IP) assets, so you can manage your own IP and develop an effective plan to grow your business safely. It is particularly relevant for businesses identified as having potential to grow. You can access a grant worth up to £2500, which is available when you apply for an IP audit worth £3000.

IP Access Grants

UKIPO has launched a new grant called "IP Access" to help SMEs protect and commercialise their IP. The grant is available to SMEs and innovative businesses to support the investment required into their IP, and can be used to cover a variety of service costs related to:

  • The management of IP assets
  • Commercialisation of IP
  • Licensing and franchising agreements
  • IP insurance
  • IP valuation
  • Tax relief advice
  • Professional fees for IP services in the UK and abroad.

Intellectual Property Office (IPO)

The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) can help with patent applications, IP business events, examples of IP case studies, valuing IP, licensing, and much more.

Intellectual Property attachés

Intellectual property specialist attachés can provide advice on protecting a business’s rights in key international markets.

British Library Business and Intellectual Property Centre

The British Library Business and Intellectual Property Centre provides entrepreneurs and SMEs with free access to databases, market research, journals, directories, and reports worth thousands of pounds. There is a programme of free and low-cost events and workshops on a range of topics, including business planning, marketing, and intellectual property.

Patent Box

Patent Box encourages companies to keep and commercialise intellectual property in the UK. It allows companies to apply a lower rate of Corporation Tax to profits earned from its patented inventions. Companies must elect to the Patent Box to apply the lower rate of Corporation Tax, which is 10%.

Find partners to collaborate on projects


Konfer is a free online platform that offers the most efficient way to navigate around resources, technology, and innovation capabilities that exist in the UK innovation eco-system. You can discover and engage with experts beyond your typical reach and discuss new ideas and opportunities for projects. This platform allows you to search and discover, respond to top opportunities, and invite experts to collaborate with you.

UK Catapult Centres

A Catapult Centre is where the application of research is accelerated, where new technologies are further developed, scaled up, and realised. Catapult Centres provide businesses with access to expertise and facilities, enabling them to test, demonstrate, and improve their ideas. By fostering collaborations between industry, government, research organisations, academia, and many others, Catapults are helping to create the best environments for innovation. Catapults work with small, medium, and large businesses, to understand the challenges they face and support them in the development of solutions that will help improve their business performance.

Page last updated: 12 February 2024