Innovate UK EDGE – New Year, New Look, New Ambitions

James Cortis
Content Producer | Business West
5th January 2021

Today, we are delighted to announce the launch of Innovate UK EDGE

Formerly operating under the banner of Enterprise Europe Network, Innovate UK has brought together the activities of the Enterprise Europe Network, Innovate2Succeed, Innovate UK’s COVID response services, its Scale Up Activities, Pitchfest and the IP Audits Programme all under one unified brand.

Delivered in the South West of England by Business West, Innovate UK EDGE will continue to target scaling innovative businesses and provide expert support to the South West’s most forward thinking, high growth potential companies. 

The launch of Innovate UK EDGE comes at a pivotal time for South West businesses as the UK begins its new trading relationship with the EU and the rest of the world, whilst at the same time striving to overcome the challenges that COVID continues to present.

2021 will undoubtedly bring further challenges, but also opportunities, and we’ll be continuing our role as advisor and mentor to innovative South West businesses, helping them to navigate these uncertain times. We are focused on helping businesses find finance and funding, identify new national and international opportunities and improve internal capacity, skills and capabilities.

The launch of Innovate UK EDGE demonstrates the faith that we have in the ingenuity and potential of both our existing Innovate UK grant beneficiaries and our South West innovation community to lead the national recovery. 

2020 in numbers 

During 2020, we focused largely on helping businesses find finance, re-structure, pivot, adapt and survive. This year, we’ll be converting that work into helping our clients achieve steep growth trajectories, create new jobs and boost international activity, enhancing the UK’s presence in the global economy. 

While we wait for our final 2020 figures, we can report that from January to September 2020, we helped South West innovators raise over £17m of funding and finance, bring 36 new products to market, identify 40 new international partners and create or maintain more than 500 jobs. 

With the launch of Innovate UK EDGE, we are looking to build on those numbers substantially during 2021, working with some of the South West’s most progressive businesses.

Innovate 2021 Webinars and Workshops

As well as delivering 1-2-1 bespoke support, our team have also been sharing practical strategies for recovery and growth through our webinar series, Innovate 2021.

So far, we’ve covered topics including Intellectual Property, Funding and Finance, Design Thinking, Sales and Marketing, Business Strategy and more. The popular series of seminars and workshops will continue this year with diversified content reflecting new and emerging challenges. 

Outlook for 2021 and beyond

Monday’s announcement of a second lockdown is not good news for South West businesses or indeed the UK as a whole.

But whilst there are dark clouds, not all is gloomy. According to Oxford Economics, an economic bounce-back is projected for the South West over the course of 2021, with an anticipated 7% growth in GVA accompanied by a rise of more than 67,000 jobs. 

Although GVA in 2025 is projected to be 1.9% lower than the pre-Coronavirus forecast, there are still positive signs that key sectors will be able to weather the storm and repurpose their businesses to meet changing market requirements. That of course is not true for all sectors, some of which will have been hit very badly over the period.

However, with the focus that Innovate UK EDGE brings including 2021 initiatives like PitchFest, the Global Business Innovation Programme, the Scale Up Programme and Peer to Peer networking opportunities, there is certainly still reason for optimism.

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