Technology Strategy Board Plan Aims To Boost SMEs

Government Agency Plans More Help For Small Firms

04.07.2014

Steven Beahan, Partner | +44 (0)114 294 7868

SMEs are to get new help as well as possible cash grants from a government agency as part of its plans for the 2014-15 period.

The Technology Strategy Board has said its 2014-15 plan will include over £400 million of investment in innovation, with 88 competitions to be held to allow firms of various sizes to develop new ideas in areas varying from digital technology to energy, healthcare and transport.

Specific support for small businesses will continue through existing programmes like Smart and The Small Business Research Initiative, to which new ones will be added. These include the creation of a new national small and medium-sized business growth programme, which will involve the supply of coaching, mentoring and skill support to help small firms develop, grow and attract investors.

In addition to this, a new partnership will be established involving the International Property Office and UK Trade and Investment, designed to help small firms with advice on intellectual property and exports.

Firms of all sizes may be able to access more help in developing new innovations through a partnership involving the British Business Bank and the UK Business Angels Association, which aims to match up innovative firms with potential private investors.

Chief executive of the board Iain Gray said: "The 2014-15 Delivery Plan raises the Technology Strategy Board’s ambitions to a higher level, enhancing support for UK companies through a range of targeted programmes, opening up lucrative pathways into Europe and expanding facilities and opportunities for businesses to collaborate and innovate still further."

Universities and science minister David Willetts said the plans are part of the government's long-term economic vision, which aims to "invest in ambitious entrepreneurs and businesses, to help them grow and succeed in the global race".

This potential new boost for SMEs comes at a time when their confidence is at its highest in many years.

Last week, the Lloyd's Bank bi-annual Business in Britain report revealed sentiment among SMEs was at its most positive since 1992, with a net balance of 53 per cent believing their fortunes are on the up.

Expert Opinion
This is fantastic news for the small business community and will undoubtedly create new avenues for innovative and ambitious organisations to explore and take advantage of.

"The Government has not been shy in recent months in communicating how it has placed a huge emphasis on SMEs and the important role they have to play in driving forward further improvements in the economy.

"This initiative seems like another step towards reaffirming this commitment, with small businesses expected to get much support from the various aspects of these programmes. We would urge entrepreneurs and growing firms to speak with legal advisers on how they can take advantage of these opportunities, as well as to ensure they are complying with key regulations so they will not be held back from moving forward with their aims."
Steven Beahan, Partner