SMEs are the lifeblood of an economy and generally have been the most innovative businesses.
It is often said that while the big corporations have the resources for large-scale, ongoing R & D their effort is largely focused on existing products.
But while historically many new ideas have originated from inventors “tinkering” in their spare time, this is less likely in the 21st Century.
Very few SMEs will have a turnover with a sufficient margin to allow for funding ongoing research and development, especially in the highly technical, software, biomedical and scientific fields.
Yet to survive and prosper, SMEs need to find their niche and then innovation to stay ahead of the competition. Can this be done?
There are a number of options. In the UK there is the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) project in schools, supported by businesses, which is designed to encourage the next generation of innovators.
There are also collaborations between businesses and universities, both in the UK and elsewhere.
There is also an EU programme specifically designed to support innovative SMEs with funding and by connecting them with mentoring and other partners. Horizon 2020 can invest up to £2 million in a company and is worth looking at if you are truly innovative: www.h2020uk.org/smes.
Do also contact us at K2 as we are familiar with this and other sources of finance.