Business Innovation Fund launched to help rebuild local economy

By Anita Jaynes on 24 August, 2020

New help for businesses to get their cutting-edge ideas off the drawing board and into reality has been launched by West of England Mayor Tim Bowles.

The Business Innovation Fund can award grants to eligible businesses and partner them with the West of England’s world-leading research institutions to progress research, development and innovation.

The three-year programme, managed by the West of England Combined Authority (WECA), will help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to develop innovative new products, processes and services to fulfil market demand.

News of the new fund was welcomed by the West of England Regional Recovery Taskforce, which met earlier this month to work on the regional recovery plan, focussing on business recovery, skills, employment and infrastructure and places. Business leaders welcomed the fact that the actions are being taken quickly to address some of the immediate and long-term challenges being faced during Covid-19.

Tim said, “The West of England has a terrific track record for producing innovative and imaginative ideas. Research, Development and Innovation can help your business adapt for the future and get ahead of the competition, create new products, processes and services to reach new customers, and improve sustainability and productivity.

“Investment in innovation is critical to business survival and driving growth. I’m making sure that our innovative companies get the support they need to not only come through the challenges presented by Covid-19 but to build back better. My Business Innovation Fund will help by providing small firms with bespoke support to bring new products, services and processes to market – making the most of future opportunities in growth areas.”

The Business Innovation Fund will provide funding of either £20,000 or £50,000 – for projects in a range of business sectors – as well as offering support to help firms move from concept to commercialisation. It offers funding and support for SMEs based in the West of England – covering Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.

He added, “The Business Innovation Fund is the latest in a package of measures I’ve announced to help support our region’s economy and people’s jobs following the Coronavirus pandemic. As we start to see the scale of the challenge facing us, it’s more important than ever that the right help is in place to help our businesses rebuild.”

For more details, please visit, or speak to WECA’s West of England Growth Hub Enterprise Executives about the Business Innovation Fund and the range of business support available in the region.