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Develop products and services

When developing products and services, you should consider all the options available to you, including business grants, support from universities, intellectual property and finding partners for collaboration.

Ashfield business innovation and Digital technology programme

The is being delivered by East Midlands Chamber and is funded by the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF). It forms part of our new Accelerator Programme and offers support to local businesses to improve commercial operations and bring new products to market. SMEs will have access to specialist consultants to explore and adopt new technologies and take advantage of any national programmes such as Innovate UK EDGE and Made Smarter.

Business grants

Horizon Europe Funding

Horizon Europe is the EU’s research and innovation funding programme. It has a budget of €95.5 billion and runs until 2027. If you are a UK based researcher, innovator or organisation, then you can apply to most Horizon Europe funding opportunities on the same terms as EU based applicants.

It is divided into 3 Pillars:

Innovate UK - Edge

If your company is innovation driven and growing and you want to take it to the next level, then we recommend you contact Innovate UK Edge. They have a team of experienced innovation and growth specialists who can help you. They provide a bespoke support service to help local businesses find and access the resources they need to innovate, exploit, and internalise their products and services. They are key part of the UK Innovation Agency’s investment to drive economic growth across the UK and they work with industry sector specialists that can support all types of businesses.

Innovate UK - KTN

If you are looking for experienced input into your idea, product, service, research, or challenge, then KTN can help you. They have connections spanning business, government, funders, research and the third sector. They also deliver the ‘Knowledge Transfer Partnership’; a national programme that brings together new skills and the latest academic thinking to deliver specific, strategic innovation projects, through a knowledge based partnership. They can work with any established business including social enterprises, but not start-ups.

Solid Edge for start-ups

The Solid Edge for start-ups program provides eligible start-ups with free access to a complete solution for product development, including CAD, CAM, and CAE software. This is open to small or medium enterprises (SMEs) who have been operating for less than 3 years, and are registered at Companies house.

National Space Innovation Programme (UK)

The programme will support high-risk, high-reward projects designed by British organisations which have the potential to address real-world challenges, such as using satellite data to combat climate change or providing services to make in-orbit applications more sustainable.

Up to £34 million is available for proposals that will drive innovation, accelerate the route to market, and attract investment into the UK space sector. 

Support from Universities

Enterprising Ashfield - Growth Programme

Provides small and medium enterprises with a business review and action plan, to help grow your business. Enterprise participants can then access a range development solutions to work through their growth plans, these include:

  • business mentoring
  • masterclasses and workshops
  • peer learning and leadership training sessions.

There are some sector-specific support programmes and access to a grant.

The Omnifactory

The Omnifactory is a new £3.8 million facility that will revolutionise the world of manufacturing, making it more efficient and cost effective which has been opened by University of Nottingham. It is a state of the art a concept factory where different digital technologies can be implemented to improve traditional manufacturing practices. The way it works is that it contains a bespoke test bed floor, that provides a unique reconfigurable environment. The floor autonomously adapts itself to the next product’s environment and specifications, reshaping itself through a combination of digital technologies, robotics, and artificial intelligence.

This facility is available to small and medium enterprises.

Support with IP and Patents

Research and development (R&D) tax credits

Small and medium sized enterprises can claim for R&D relief if a research and development project seeks to achieve an advance in overall knowledge or capability in a field of science or technology, through the resolution of a scientific or technological uncertainty.

Intellectual Property

IP Audit Plus

An audit allows you to gain a clearer picture of your intellectual property (IP) assets, so you can manage your own IP and develop an effective plan to grow your business safely. It is particularly relevant for businesses identified as having potential to grow. You can access a grant worth up to £2500 which is available when you apply for an IP audit, worth £3000.

IP Access Grants

UKIPO has launched a new grant called "IP Access" to help SMEs protect and commercialise their IP. The grant is available to SMEs and innovative businesses to support the investment required into their IP, and can be used to cover a variety of service costs related to:

  • The management of IP assets
  • Commercialisation of IP
  • Licensing and franchising agreements
  • IP insurance
  • IP valuation
  • Tax relief advice
  • Professional fees for IP services in the UK and abroad

Intellectual Property Office (IPO)

The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) can help with patent applications, IP business events, examples of IP case studies, valuing IP, licensing and much more.

Intellectual Property attaches

Intellectual property specialist attaches can provide advice on protecting a business’s rights in key international markets.

British Library Business and Intellectual Property centre

The British Library business and intellectual property centre provides entrepreneurs and SMEs with free access to databases, market research, journals, directories and reports worth thousands of pounds. There is a programme of free and low cost events and workshops on a range of topics including business planning, marketing, and intellectual property.

Patent Box

Patent Box encourages companies to keep and commercialise intellectual property in the UK. It allows companies to apply a lower rate of Corporation Tax to profits earned from its patented inventions. Companies must elect to the Patent Box to apply the lower rate of Corporation Tax, which is 10%.

Find partners to collaborate on projects


Konfer is a free online platform that offers the most efficient way to navigate around resources, technology and innovation capabilities that exist in the UK innovation eco-system. You can discover and engage with experts beyond your typical reach and discuss new ideas and opportunities for projects. This platform allows you to search and discover, respond top opportunities and invite experts to collaborate with you.

UK Catapult Centres

A Catapult centre is where the application of research is accelerated, where new technologies are further developed, scaled up and realised. Catapult centres provide businesses with access to their expertise and facilities, enabling them to test, demonstrate and improve their ideas. By fostering collaborations between industry, government, research organisations, academia and many others, Catapults are helping to create the best environments for innovation. Catapults work with small, medium and large businesses, to understand the challenges they face and support them in the development of solutions that will help improve their business performance.

Page last updated: 22 November 2023