Government gives universities cash to support SMEs


Leicester’s De Montfort University is leading a £4.7m project to help businesses and entrepreneurs bring ideas to life and help boost the UK economy through the Government’s new Connecting Capability Fund.

DMU has joined forces with Brunel University London, Nottingham Trent University and industry bodies to create a specialist company called Impacting Business By Design to work with SMEs to commercialise ideas and innovations.

Impacting Business By Design will provide design, technical, and development support, incentivise investment and nurture design innovation skills, culture and systems in SMEs and entrepreneurs. It aims to increase the number of new products being brought to market in the UK, increasing investment and protecting the country’s industrial competitiveness.

The universities will work in collaboration with the British Industrial Design Association, Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst Association, Manufacturers’ Organisation EEF, and the Leicester & Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership.

The CCF aims to drive forward new collaborations between universities and other partners. The award is part of a £67m investment by Research England as part of the National Productivity Investment Fund.

Professor Peter Ford, Professor of Design at DMU’s Design Unit who is leading on the project, said: “This funding recognises the excellent track record in design research not only here at DMU’s Design Unit but at Brunel and Nottingham Trent, as well as the close industry partnerships which all three universities share.

“Impacting Business By Design has a huge potential to not only bring more products to market but to make it easier for SMEs and entrepreneurs to innovate, create jobs and grow the UK economy”.

The Connecting Capability Fund is highlighted in the Government’s Industrial Strategy and will help achieve its aims of enhancing UK industrial competitiveness and productivity.