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Innovate UK

Innovation alone is not enough

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Like millions of rugby fans around the world I was absolutely fascinated by the inventive tactics the Italian rugby team employed against England in this year's Six Nations clash.

Putting to one side the ensuing debate by the pundits, the Italians executed a novel approach within the boundaries of the laws that gave them (the underdogs) a half time lead.

In my opinion, if the Italian team had incorporated the innovative approach as an element of the tactical plan, rather than a rigid whole game strategy, they may have capitalised fully…the outcome consigned to history was a conclusive England win.

A great idea needs a great business behind it to succeed

Working for Innovate UK I am in the privileged position of seeing a constant stream of novel, disruptive and innovative technologies. Our role in the national innovation ecosystem is to identify and build the confidence the private sector needs to invest in the highest potential, most economically potent ideas.

However in itself, innovation is simply not enough to fully harness economic impact. High risk projects inevitably mean high failure rates, it’s the nature of the beast, but many ideas fail to deliver not because of technological challenge, but simply because the business vehicle fails.

The attributes of a successful innovation business

To truly deliver an innovation based growth economy, a more holistic view must be adopted. We must support the creation of quality companies. Quality high potential companies have three key attributes:

  1. strong commercial asset
  2. great management team
  3. approach to raising capital that promotes long term scalability

Is equity investment right for you?

Equity investment is not right for every technology based organisation, however in certain markets, it is essential. In equity dependant markets we can build on Innovate UK’s access to UK companies and recognised validation of innovation; by combining with investor expertise to identify commercial leaders and drive companies to market. This approach will minimise risk and maximise the chance of success for UK companies, investors and Innovate UK funding alike.

We look to introduce ideas and investors early

Enabling investors to invest both earlier and more broadly within existing Innovate UK funding mechanisms gives business owners:

  • Increased certainty of ongoing funding, reducing the time spent identifying further finance and creating more time to focus on developing the company
  • Direct access to commercial acumen and market opportunities
  • A significantly denser innovation ecosystem, enabling greater confidence to pursue entrepreneurship and enterprise in the UK

Speeding up idea and investor impact

The investor partnership programme aims to intensify and accelerate sustainable UK economic growth through innovative quality companies.

Watch out for upcoming investor partner pilot activities

We are working with investors on some pilot opportunities to help bring together everything that is needed for a quality high potential company – as innovation alone is not enough. Learn more about the "investment accelerator pilot" competition.

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