Are you the founder of a high-growth organisation? Need some extra support to accelerate into the scaleup space? There are a few options out there, so we caught up with Innovate UK EDGE to get a deeper dive into how the team helps tech businesses.

“You’ll have heard of Innovate UK project funding, loan finance and so on – we complement these initiatives with bespoke, specialist-led support for ambitious businesses,” explains Innovation and Growth Specialist, Gillian Montanaro. The organisation plays an integral role in the UK innovation agency’s investment in innovative businesses that drive economic growth.

Gillian, whose role is to help businesses innovate, scale, and become investment & funding ready, outlines that, “Our specialists can help you to become investment ready, revamp your business strategy, internationalise, boost sales through new marketing initiatives, introduce customer-centric design principles and much more.”

Fully funded by Innovate UK, the idea is to help you create a tangible market impact, overcome barriers to growth, and to commercialise each client’s innovation.

Through her work, Gillian collaborates with each business’s leadership team in order to identify their strategic needs. Once these are defined, Innovate UK EDGE’s specialist teams come in to help achieve their needs. This encompasses everything from design to finance and leadership to IP. You can get a taste of their expertise here, on how to monopolise on grant funding in the South West.

Take part in Innovate UK EDGE’s programme today

The team is eager to reach as many eligible organisations as possible to expedite the rate of innovation. Gillian encourages, “Any ambitious, technology-led or innovation-led business that is looking to overcome specific challenges and grow,” to reach out today.

“It’s not a competitive process, although we are specific about the types of businesses we work with. If you think we might be able to help, just reach out and let’s discuss your barriers to growth. You can contact me or you can leave your details on our website here.”

The criteria is relatively broad. The programme is sector-agnostic and organisations can have up to 500 employees. The key requirement is that your business is innovation-led and has seen, or is expecting to see, strong growth. “As such, you could be pre-revenue or already earning millions,” adds Gillian.

There has been a plethora of exciting tech businesses to come out of Innovate UK EDGE. Namely, the team helped breastfeeding and early-motherhood support app, Anya, raise over £1m in funding and finance. On receiving the support, founder Dr. Chen Mao Davies tells us, “Innovate UK EDGE has made an immense difference to our growth journey. They really helped us to fine tune our value proposition, our business model, and our investment readiness strategy – it’s been fantastic.”

On another success story, Gillian says the team was delighted to see health and safety wearable, spacebands, raise a similar amount following investment readiness and design thinking support.

“We worked with Innovate UK EDGE to gain a deep understanding of our customer’s needs and design key aspects of our product,” remarks Ronan Finnegan, Co-Founder of soacebands. “That process was absolutely paramount to helping us get to where we are today.”

Changing the status quo 

The founder and investment landscape alike has traditionally been a very white male-dominated space. In the South West in particular, there is a strong appetite to reshape this. With 31 fantastic women founders raising £151m between them, and groups such as Inclusive Angels supporting diverse founders and angel investors alike, the tides are starting to turn.

I’m pleased to see a move to recognise the lack of equality and diversity in investment, although there is of course a long way to go.

“For some years, Innovate UK has been championing innovators from all backgrounds through its Women in Innovation and Young Innovators Awards, helping more businesses to defy the odds by creating ‘unmissable’ investment opportunities,” Gillian explains.

If any region is going to be leading in this change, we’re confident that the South West is well-placed to be at the forefront. Gillian tells us that she’s particularly impressed by the South West’s tech community’s “real willingness to share and collaborate, understanding that success comes from the sum of everything we all do. The networking scene is vibrant, as are the co-working spaces and collaborative events.” This attitude is fundamental to catalysing change.

“We’re also fortunate to enjoy a diverse mix of cities, swathes of countryside, and a ranging coastline, which lends itself to a varied set of businesses. Plus, innovative businesses don’t need to be restricted by specific geographies, and work-life balance lends itself to South West tech businesses getting the best of both worlds.”

If you think Innovate UK EDGE can help you achieve your growth ambitions, let’s have a chat. Reach out at: