Driving growth

20 May 2013
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IET welcomes expansion of Small Business Research Initiative

The IET welcomes the announcement by David Willetts MP of a record £440 million budget for the Technology Strategy Board to support innovative businesses and drive growth across the UK.

Commenting on the announcement, Paul Davies, IET head of Policy, said: “This is welcome news, particularly the expansion in the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) which we have been promoting for several years.”

SBRI is an important tool in helping the UK economy re-balance towards manufacturing, but without consistent and substantial funding, it will not achieve its full potential.

David Evans, chair of the Innovation and Emerging Technologies Policy Panel, said: “Not only must the Government ensure greater use of the SBRI through financial incentives for public bodies, but it is important that successful projects should be supported by follow-on procurement contracts. This will increase the number of SMEs (small and medium enterprises) awarded government contracts and will help to re-balance the economy.”

“The SBRI will enable the UK to become a high technology exporter and help to develop the larger companies of tomorrow.”

However, the IET is concerned that the scheme will not be effective unless it is widely promoted and used by Government departments. The involvement of these departments is vital to increase economic growth through increased SME procurement expenditure.