New fund to boost the productivity of UK small businesses was recently announced. Technology projects and pilots across the UK, including digital dairy farming, AI chatbots and cloud computing technology, are among those to benefit.
On the 29th of January, Kelly Tolhurst, the UK’s small business minister, announce the new funding. 15 projects from all over the UK have won a share of £2m from the first round of funding from the Business Basics Fund.
The successful bidders include collaborations between businesses and groups including the Chartered Institute of Professional Development (CIPD), Enterprise Nation, Universities, Cavendish Enterprise and government-backed Growth Hubs.
Innovate UK’s executive chair, Dr Ian Campbell, said: “Trying something new is a big step for any business, but true innovation enables firms grow. To solve the UK’s productivity puzzle, we need more firms to adopt new, but proven, technologies and novel ways of doing things so they can get ahead of the competition.”
The competition for the second round of funding has launched with £2m available to businesses, academia and local authorities for new projects. The funding will go to projects focused on testing ways of rolling out existing productivity-boosting technology and management practices to businesses.
The fund is delivered in partnership with Innovate UK and Nesta. It will form part of the government’s plan to boost UK national productivity through its new Industrial Strategy.
Research from the CBI suggests that by encouraging businesses to take advantage of existing technologies, management practices and business support the UK economy could see a five per cent reduction in income inequality and receive a £100bn boost. Such technology’s as cloud computing, mobile technology and e-purchasing could bring about these improvements for UK businesses.
Chief executive of innovation foundation Nesta, Geoff Mulgan, added: “The Business Basics Fund signals a welcome commitment by government to applying experimental methods to boosting economic productivity.”