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Bridging the innovation gaps

IET factfile: Bridging the innovation gaps

There are many government and business initiatives centred upon innovation within the Small to Medium Enterprise (SME) community. However, funding and support are not always reaching the SMEs that have the best prospects for future growth; it has to be suitable for SMEs at different stages in their development.

Ambitious SMEs preparing for scale don’t always know how much investment they’re going to need and where they’re going to get it. Despite the availability of funding from a variety of sources, there is a continuing decline in the number of SMEs seeking investment, with one survey released in March 2018 suggesting that just 22% of SMEs were intending to pursue funding for business investment this year. Without the right ecosystem in place, access to international markets, talent development, integrated business planning, customer research and extended product innovation can suffer.

As technology widens the growth gap between small SMEs and larger corporates, effective measures that bridge this gap, whether based on investment, training or risk-taking, will create a natural positive shift in the UK economy.

We have identified three challenges which are creating barriers to SME growth, along with some potential ‘solutions for success’, which are discussed in detail in this paper.