Government unveils £100 million innovation funding

The government has announced it will invest £75 million in high-tech SMEs as part of its new Innovation and Research Strategy for Growth.

It is one of a number of new announcements made by business secretary Vince Cable and minister for universities and science David Wiilletts, with the aim of growing the UK economy by investing in research and innovation in the UK.

"This strategy builds on our strengths by setting out how we will work with businesses and research bases to underpin private sector led growth.

"We recognise that by improving the incentives for companies to innovate they will continue to create life changing products to drive future innovation and growth," said Cable.

The £75 million will go to the Technology Strategy Board (TSB), to enable it to provide tech start-ups better access to the facilities and finance they need to develop and commercialise products.

A further £25 million will be used to help companies develop large-scale prototypes that they can use to provide demonstrations to potential investors.

The TSB will also pilot a new innovation vouchers scheme, which will give SMEs the opportunity to get free academic support from colleges and universities.

Other initiatives include expanding the size of the Design Council's mentoring scheme by doubling funding for it to £1.3 million. This programme helps SMEs deliver improved products and services to enhance their growth potential.

Meanwhile, the government will work with the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA) to establish a Centre of Expertise for running innovation competitions. It will invest £250,000 a year in a new Innovation Prize Fund.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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