TSB funding scheme for SMEs could stimulate economy

A new scheme will offer funding to small companies to enable them to research and develop new products, processes and services that could stimulate economic growth.

Managed by the Technology Strategy Board (TSB), the Grant for Research and Development scheme, which comes into effect from 4 April 2011, will support small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) across the UK.

The new scheme supersedes the Grant for R&D scheme previously managed by England’s regional development agencies and will have similar objectives.

The Grant for Research and Development scheme will offer SMEs three types of grant.

Proof-of-market grants will enable companies to assess commercial viability through, for example, market research, market testing and initial planning.

Proof-of-concept grants will help companies to explore the technical feasibility and commercial potential of a new technology, product or process through, for example, a feasibility study, basic prototyping and specialist testing.

Development-of-prototype grants will be used by companies to develop a technologically innovative product, service or industrial process. This might include small demonstrators, intellectual-property protection, market testing and product design.

The maximum funding available will be £25,000 for proof-of-market grants, £100,000 for proof-of-concept grants and £250,000 for development-of-prototype grants.

Speaking about the importance of innovation by small businesses for future economic growth, the TSB’s chief executive, Iain Gray, said: ’Small companies may under-invest in innovation because of the high degree of risk and uncertainty around both the development and commercial exploitation of new ideas. Offering partial funding through this initiative should help many innovative small businesses to overcome this barrier and to invest in innovation.’

Further information about the Grant for Research and Development scheme will be available on the TSB website, www.innovateuk.org, from 4 April 2011.