New research innovation funding available to support South London business growth
A new research innovation fund to help businesses and third sector organisations in South London recover and thrive post Covid launches this week, offering up to £30k worth of investment funding into transformative collaborative research proposals. The BIG South London Hot House Research Innovation Funding is designed to nurture business growth, and boost competitiveness and productivity through a collaborative project with an academic partner.
Hot-House will enable businesses to bring in additional academic expertise and resource to deliver a project which is strategically important to its growth – this could be anything from developing and launching a new product, adopting a new innovative/sustainable business model through to a specific research and development project – which will lead to new business and growth.
Innovation was cited as a key component of the UK’s future economic growth in government’s 2021 Innovation Strategy – showing there was a direct link between innovation and increased productivity, creating more and better paid jobs.
Open to applications from businesses and organisations across all commercial and industrial sectors, including the third sector, it offers organisations the opportunity to access up to £30k worth of research funding to enable them tap into a broad range of expertise to accelerate business development by working with one of one of BIG South London’s partner universities, further education colleges or research-intensive organisations to deliver a strategic innovation project. The academic partner will provide expertise, and even recruit a suitable student or graduate as an in-house Hot-House Associate to deliver the project.
Paul Kirkbright, programme director, BIG South London says: “We are delighted to launch this new opportunity for local businesses to aid recovery and growth. The Hot-House funding will enable an intensive partnership with an academic to make use of their expertise to deliver a specific, strategic project aimed at increasing resilience, boosting productivity and competitiveness. Accessing the world-class knowledge and expertise from our local Universities and Colleges to improve local businesses is our top priority.”
BIG (which stands for Business, Innovation and Growth) South London launched by the South London Partnership in 2021 in recognition of the needs of the local economy post-Covid. Its recent Economic Recovery Action Plan showed that the South London economy shrunk by 12.1% in 2020 – compared to 10.5% across London, and 11.4% for the whole of the UK. The study also predicted a loss of 32,000 jobs in the region, highlighting the need for drastic action to support local business.
Richard Keough, pro vice-chancellor (research and external engagement), University of Roehampton says: “The University of Roehampton’s distinctive research culture is driven by a commitment to advancing a socially just, sustainable, and creative society. Since the pandemic, we’ve been supporting businesses to innovate and thrive. BIG South London’s Hot House Programme provides an exciting opportunity for businesses and universities to work together on strategic projects and innovation that will accelerate growth across South London. We’re incredibly proud to be part of this programme and we look forward to working with more businesses and organisations to collaborate on key challenges and technology innovations across the region.”
Carol Squires, head of employment, skills and economic development, Croydon Council comments: “Here in Croydon we have an incredibly dynamic business community, which is almost exclusively made up of small and medium enterprises in key sectors such as engineering construction, digital and telecoms. We have an ambitious plan in place to help support the sustainable economic growth of this community as well attract new organisations to the area and a key part of this is to open up links with our local universities and FE colleges to increase the development of new innovations, business growth and the creation of higher value jobs.
BIG South London’s Hot House Programme is therefore very timely and welcome. I would urge Croydon businesses to get involved – if you’ve got a project or a piece of research and development that needs to be addressed and is vital to the growth of your business this is an opportunity to access funding and expertise to get it delivered.”