Alan Reid is an innovation growth specialist at RTC North and part of the Innovate UK EDGE programme. Innovate UK EDGE is a key part of the UK innovation agency's investment in the pioneering businesses that drive economic growth. It is a publicly-funded national service available to all high potential small to medium sized innovation-driven companies, including Innovate UK grant winners. Alan shares his top tips for businesses seeking funding.
For 30 years, I worked as an engineer, manager and director for businesses that developed new processes and new machines. All of the companies were underfunded and unable bring completed products to market in a timely fashion due to finance constraints. Helping local businesses get good products into the marketplace, setting up their operations for now and the future is a real professional joy.
Build relationships with the local growth hubs, chambers of commerce, networking groups and local authorities. It is important to find a proactive accountant, sized to match the business. There is a lot of good background info online at organisations such as Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund, Access to Finance, Rosebud and Funding Circle. Always take independent financial advice.
Lancashire has a proud industrial and commercial heritage and has transitioned from traditional manufacturing (textiles, heavy engineering) to electronics, software, tech security and high-value manufacturing. The county is supported by a number of progressive colleges and award winning universities, business support organisations (e.g. AMRC) and a strong ecosystem. There are high skilled industries and businesses throughout the northwest providing a substantial talent pool. Road and communication links are generally excellent. The cost of living and property is relatively low (housing, commercial and industrial) and all towns and cities have easy and quick access to areas of outstanding beauty. There is a desire in the county to grow prosperity and success, improve areas of deprivation and regenerate towns. Many areas have been awarded Town Deals and this money is being invested in the local economy and people. There is a broad and diverse population county wide, bringing a host of skills, traditions, cultures and heritage into the mainstream.
For further information, visit https://www.innovateukedge.ukri.org/