West of England Mayor Tim Bowles has announced a new fund to help businesses bring cutting-edge ideas from concept to commercialisation.

The Business Innovation Fund will offer grants of either £20,000 or £50,000 and partnerships with world-leading local research institutions. SMEs based in the West of England (covering Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire) will be eligible to apply. 

This three-year programme, managed by the West of England Combined Authority (WECA), will help local SMEs develop innovative new products, processes and services to fulfil market demand. The West of England Regional Recovery Taskforce and various business leaders welcomed the fund, which is intended to address some of the immediate and long-term challenges posed by COVID-19 in the region. 

West of England Mayor Tim Bowles 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.”

Tim 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 speak to WECA’s West of England Growth Hub Enterprise Executives about the Business Innovation Fund and the range of regional business support available.