Explaining it more simply
In January, we published our first funding reports, covering 2015/16. We’re now back, with the latest year of data, and a new, simplified format.
A look across the sectors
Last financial year was the first of Innovate UK’s new sector groups and new, simplified competition process. The reports have evolved to reflect this, setting out the sector breakdown of funding and, for the first time, tracking how many SMEs we’ve supported in more than one sector.
These 230 companies – around 11% of all SMEs who have been awarded an Innovate UK grant – are particularly interesting to us, as one of the things we like to encourage is for companies to take their new ideas, technologies, products or services, and apply them in new sectors or markets.
Innovation isn’t just about creating something new and selling it – it can be about recognising that something which already exists, or is in development, can be applied elsewhere, perhaps with only minor amendments required.
New beginnings… and more ends
We’ve seen around 1,100 projects complete last year, compared to just 700 in 2015/16. However, despite this, the number of live projects at the end of the year has increased by 200, demonstrating an increase in activity in terms of new projects starting.
The reduction in future committed spend, however, from £308m to £292m suggests the higher number of awards made have been for smaller projects (the median value reflects this, down to £95k in 2016/17).
A regional perspective
In this year’s reports, we’ve placed a bit more emphasis on the regional breakdown as well – giving it its own report.
We know growth and productivity is not evenly distributed across the country, and we want to be transparent about where our grant funding goes.
Given the skewed distribution of businesses across the UK – with a disproportionately large number registering in London and the South East – we’ve complemented the raw value of grants awarded with our take on a per capita value; instead of looking at grants per head of the population, we’ve calculated the value of grants awarded in each region per registered business in that area.
This perspective throws up a clear front runner in terms of value of grants awarded, with the North East scooping £78 for every business registered in the area. Northern Ireland and Wales received the lowest level of funding/business according to these figures.
However, it is important to note that the Devolved Administrations also provide their own innovation funding, which complements Innovate UK funding and is not captured in these numbers.
For me, it’s a highlight of the year to publish these figures. As noted before, it’s not sophisticated analysis, and there’s nothing revolutionary in our approach, but to publish clearly and transparently what we’ve been doing to support innovative businesses – opening ourselves up to scrutiny and challenge – is vitally important.
The eagle eyed among you will have noted we’ve changed the name; from performance reports to funding reports. This is to reflect what the data actually shows – I noted last year that we would be adding in performance data over time, but for now they remain a report on our funding and activities.
We have started rolling out our new project completion form, which is gathering consistent data on the activities and outcomes we are supporting, and I’m now looking forward to incorporating this data into our performance reports. This will take us a good step forward, demonstrating not just who, where, and what we’re funding, but also showing the results of that funding, in terms of:
- technological progress
- business growth
We’re already working on our in-year reports, and I look forward to sharing the next set of data with you all.
The full data is readily available in raw format, in our Transparency Data.
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