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Develop products and services

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

Business Grants

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 to most Horizon Europe funding opportunities on the same terms as EU based applicants.

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 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 you. They have connections spanning business, government, funders, research and the third sector. They also deliver the ‘Knowledge Transfer Partnership’, 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 program 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 enterprises (SMEs) who have been operating for less than 3 years, and are registered at Companies house.

Support from Universities

Enterprising Ashfield - R&D collaboration

This programme will help you to develop new and innovative products or processes. Its delivered by Nottingham Trent University for SMEs. They can help you to identify your research and development needs and explore opportunities, connect you up with relevant experts who can support you along your innovation journey. Innovation covers many areas and this programme can support with the following:

  • Computer Science/Information Strategy/Security
  • Operations (e.g. Flow Management)
  • Automation
  • Design Centre
  • Medical Technologies
  • Wireless networks-based solutions
  • Intelligent Engineering Solutions
  • UX – website and App User Experience
  • Business Strategy Review/Development
  • Marketing (strategy, planning & implementation)

Energy for Business

Energy for Business is a low-carbon innovation project from Nottingham University. They help SMEs with product research and development, business support and have some capital funding/grants to help you take the leap into becoming a low carbon business. SMEs can get up to £10,000 or 40% of eligible project costs. Minimum projects to be considered are £2500 up to a maximum of £24,999.

Productivity through Innovation

Nottingham Trent University, the University of Nottingham and University of Derby offer this high impact programme to support SMEs with productivity improvements, by introducing new or improved processes, products, or services. You can also get fully funded consultancy advice and workshops from industry experts, as well as funding towards graduate and postgraduate placements working on your business improvement projects helping you with strategic planning and providing operational insights in areas such as business continuity, supply chain development, future markets research, product development, reducing waste, digital technologies, and digital marketing strategies. This scheme will close at the end of June 2023.

Precision Manufacturing Centre

The Precision Manufacturing Centre can offer SMEs a fully funded technical business support service, to help SMEs with their manufacturing design and research needs. You can get help with producing prototypes, undertaking ultra-precision complex engineering, measurement reporting, microscopy and get advice on IP.

The Omnifactory

The Omnifactory is a new £3.8 million facility that will revolutionise the world of manufacturing, making it more efficient and cost effective which has been opened by University of Nottingham. It is a state of the art a concept factory where different digital technologies can be implemented to improve traditional manufacturing practices. The way it works is that it contains a bespoke test bed floor, that 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 SMEs.

Food Innovation Centre

The University of Nottingham offers free support through workshops, collaborative research, and development (R&D) projects and consultancy services for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). This is to help companies develop new products, processes, and services, and to expand their existing internal and external supply chain capabilities.

The INSTILS Project

Develop your products and services with the help of the ERDF-funded INSTILS project – delivered by Medilink East Midlands. This project offers high quality advisory support and the opportunity to attend a variety of events, as well as grants for networking, innovation, and medical technology trials. This is a partnership project with the East Midlands Academic Health Science Network, The University of Nottingham, and Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust.

Research and development (R&D) tax credits

Small and medium sized enterprises 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

Allow you to gain a clearer picture of your 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

The government will pay £5000 to help SME’s protect and commercialise their IP as part of a new strategy to support post covid-19 pandemic recovery. This is an extension to the IP Audits Plus and is available to SMEs that have completed an IP Audit between April 2020 and March 2022 and need help implementing recommendations. You can use this grant to prepare a patent application (Which would cost £4000), but you can’t use it to pay for the official filing fee.

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 attaches

Intellectual property specialist attaches 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%.