https://innovateuk.blog.gov.uk/2016/10/17/the-need-for-connections-in-innovation/

The need for connections in innovation

Innovation is risky, but failure to innovate can be worse. Companies who commit to innovation have higher productivity, grow twice as fast, and have higher exports than those who don’t. They have a much better chance of handling sudden market changes and surviving in the long term.

Remember - for any business - survival is not compulsory!

The risks of innovation take many forms:

  • Market risk – are there customers?
  • Financial risk – do we have the money to deliver?
  • Technological risk – will it work?
  • Commercial risk – will it make money?

Business has to balance all these risks at the same time; navigating their way through the rapids from idea to full commercialisation.

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Our role in creating connections

As the UK Government’s innovation agency, our job is to help companies become more successful and grow through innovation. We do that by helping companies to reduce and manage these risks.

We help companies in two ways; we fund them to help them undertake projects that would otherwise be beyond them, and we connect them to people and organisations who can help them with knowledge, expertise, contacts, access to finance and access to specialised capabilities and facilities.

Having enough money to finance an innovation project is clearly vital, but money does not tackle all the risks. You might:

  • Need to find a manufacturing partner, a distribution partner, or a first customer.
  • Need some information about how a market or technology is expected to develop over the coming years.
  • Need investors to help you to accelerate the growth of your business, or to help you take your innovation to new markets overseas.
  • Be uncertain about IP or legal issues, or need some advice about the regulatory requirements in your target sector.
  • Be new to innovation and want advice, guidance and training in how to deliver innovation projects effectively.

These needs are not about funding, but connecting to and accessing the right kind of support. All the members of the Innovate UK family are there to help you connect. We listen to your challenges, understand what you need and help you reach the people who can give you that support most effectively.

  • Our Catapult centres can provide deep knowledge and access to specialist equipment and capabilities in their specific areas of expertise.
  • Sector teams. Catapults, Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) and Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) can all provide information about market and supply chain developments.
  • Sector teams, Catapults and KTN carry out futures and roadmapping work; helping develop strategies for the future of your business.
  • KTN and EEN can help you network and find partners nationally and internationally.
  • Our Investor Network helps businesses to get ready to look for private investment, and helps to get them in front of interested investors.
  • KTN and EEN help you to strengthen your innovation capability.

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An opportunity to make new connections

If you come to Innovate 2016 in Manchester on 2nd and 3rd November you will see all these forms of support, and more, on display. And you will be able to talk to the people delivering them and hear from companies that have benefited.

We understand that successful innovation support is about much more than funding, and we are working hard to deliver the support you need.

If you need to connect to someone and don’t know where to start, ask your local Enterprise Europe Network team. They will help you find the right people to talk to.

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