What we do

How can the Innovation Network help an SME?

Are you a Small or Medium sized Enterprise (SME) or a start-up business? Do you have an idea for a product, service or process that you believe could be commercialised?

Do you need some support in taking it to the market?

Are you prepared to work with the Knowledge Base – a University, Research Centre, Design House or Test facility – to make it happen?

If you have answered yes to all three questions then you should be talking to:

“The INNOVATION NETWORK” team. 

Why?

  • We can find the right person for your project from the Knowledge Base
  • We have funds to buy in that support from the Knowledge Base
  • We have other funding options available for you

 

What is the process?

Meet one of our Innovation brokers to outline your project. You decide which route you wish to take.

Mini Grant

Your project request is sent to a panel of experts who will decide if it should be funded. If a positive response is received you decide which Knowledge Base partner you think will work best for you and scope the work out and agree cost and timelines. You can choose a private company if that works better for you but the grant is then limited to 50% of the total project cost, up to a maximum of £2,400.

If successful you carry out the project. You pay for the work done and submit your claim. We send you 80% of the eligible costs up to a maximum of £2,400. If you choose a private company the grant is limited to 50% of the eligible project costs up to a maximum of £2,400.

 

Maxi Grant

Your project request is sent to a panel of experts who will decide if you should present in person to a group of independent business people and technical experts. If they give a positive response to you and your project you will receive a Grant Offer Letter outlining the maximum grant and the conditions for the project. You can then choose the Knowledge Base partner that you believe can deliver a successful outcome. You will scope the project with them and once you are happy the project can commence. When the project is completed you will send us the invoice and time-sheets and we will decide the eligibility of the costs. We will then send you 49% of the eligible costs up to a maximum of £24,500.

For the Maxi Grants your time might be eligible and possibly included in the overall project cost. If so, time-sheets will be required.

What do we offer from the Innovation Network?

We offer three levels of support and you can benefit from all three of them:

Find

Find the right fund, bid writer, academic assistance, contacts, connections and clients up to 12 hours of ongoing support.

Mini Grant

Up to 80% of a project (to a maximum of £2,400) to buy academic research, scope a technology proposal, request test facilities, find the best route to market  – anything you need from our partners in the Knowledge Base.

Maxi Grant

Up to 49% of a project (to a maximum of £24,500) to carry out some serious market testing of a new product, academic excellence, build and test a prototype. Anything from the facilities and expertise that the Knowledge Base has to offer that takes your product, service or process closer to commercial reality. 

A typical case study

You wish to create a prototype using a 3D printer. You arrange to meet one of our Innovation Brokers to discuss the project. If it is innovative and there is a prospect of a successful commercialisation then you fill in a short application form. The application is assessed by a panel of experts. If approved, you choose the Knowledge Base partner that you wish to work with and together you work out the total cost of the project. It could look like this:

3D printer usage at local University = £2,800

Total project cost £2,800

Once the grant offer letter has been received and accepted, the work can be carried out. The University will invoice you for their work and you need to pay for this. You then send us the University invoice, showing that payment has been made. We will then decide if the costs are eligible and send you 80% up to a maximum of £2,400 (for a mini grant). In this scenario it will be £2,240 (80% of the eligible costs).

 

A Typical Timeline

Day 1
Meet one of our Innovation Brokers to discuss your needs. If there is the prospect of an Innovative Project you will be asked to fill in a short application form.

Day 2 to Day 15
The “Innovation need” will be scored by an expert panel to decide if the project should be funded or not. If approved, you will receive a Grant Approval Letter and will be asked to find a Knowledge Based organisation to work with. It can be any Knowledge Base organisation in England or if a private organisation works better for you then you can choose this option. If it is the latter then the grant is limited to 50% of the eligible project costs up to a maximum of £2,400.

If your application is declined we will help you to find another funding source.

Day 15 onward
You will scope out your Innovative Project with your chosen Knowledge Base Organisation and come up with a maximum total cost, a timeline and a schedule of work. The Innovation Network team will assess the project and will issue a Grant Offer Letter outlining the maximum grant and the conditions for it. Once you have accepted this then your project can commence.

When the work is completed you will be invoiced by the Knowledge Base Organisation and you will pay them. The invoice, proof of payment and any other supporting documentation is sent to us, University of Southampton and we will assess the claim. Once the eligible expenditure has been established a request will be sent to one of our partners, the University of Portsmouth, for appropriate payment which will be made in 4 weeks.