Growth will not come from betting on certainties

Financially speaking we are living in a risk averse world post 2008.

This may be understandable but in a globally connected and highly competitive world UK businesses need to innovate if they want to survive and prosper.

It’s a point that British inventor Trevor Baylis OBE, inventor of the wind-up radio in the early 90s, emphasises in calling for the importance of innovation and invention to be taught in schools in an interview with the Daily Telegraph.

Invention is also in the spotlight this week with the announcement by the Institution of Engineering and Technology’s 2013 winner of the annual Faraday Award. The winner was Sir Michael Pepper, a professor of nanoelectronics at UCL whose work has pioneered development of an unhackable computer.

Other IET medallists are in the fields of supercomputing and research in bio-inspired technology that could lead to the first artificial pancreas.

All this takes money and commitment, and while there is some evidence from an analysis of company tax receipts by national accountants UHY Hacker Young showing that investment in R & D in 2012 was 8% higher than in 2011 thanks to increased tax relief on research spending it is still less than 2% of economic output.

But how many SMEs are likely to be able to take advantage of this or have the resources to put into development and innovation when they are still facing an uphill struggle to raise finance from banks unwilling to lend to them?

Indeed banks like most of the lenders coming into the market to replace them, want security over assets which does not allow for innovation.

Many are unaware of other sources of finance and K2 has a comprehensive, free, downloadable guide to sources of business finance available at http://www.k2finance.co.uk

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