Competition launched to support SME growth

The University of Birmingham has launched a brand new innovation competition open to SMEs across the UK to support their R&D needs.

Celebrating the importance of entrepreneurship and innovation, the competition has two award categories. The first of these, ‘High growth innovative SME of the year’, sponsored by R & D Tax Claims, highlights the most exciting and innovative companies in the UK, and is open to privately-owned SMEs that can demonstrate significant growth through research and development over the past 3 years. A prize of £5,000 will go to the winning company to support collaborative R&D between the company and the University.

Secondly, the ‘Best innovative idea for exploitation’ sponsored by Forresters, will support a company that has a great idea, possibly developed with the University, and is looking for the most effective way to commercialise that idea. The winner will receive £5,000 of IP advice including patent and trade mark attorney support. The competition was launched at the recent ‘Business with Birmingham 2015’ Conference, organised and hosted by the University of Birmingham. In its inaugural year, the Conference was attended by over 150 people from business. Individuals from SME and large corporate organisations heard from business leaders on two lively panel debates discussing the benefits and challenges of University and industry partnerships.

In addition, the Conference which was held in the striking Aston Webb building included several campus facilities tours and networking opportunities. 

Gurmit Kler, Head of Business Engagement at the University of Birmingham commented:

“It was fantastic to see such a great turn out for the conference. We wanted to deliver a simple message, ‘The University of Birmingham is open for business’. It was great to see such lively debate and discussion and we are very much looking forward to developing exciting new collaborations as a result of the networking on the day.”

Mark Evans FCA, Managing Director, R&D Tax Claims Ltd said: ‘’I am very proud that my company is sponsoring the inaugural award of ‘High growth innovative SME of the year’ launched by the University. I am very passionate about helping innovative UK SMEs reduce their tax bills as well as getting them to engage more closely with universities such as Birmingham as this helps the UK economy grow as a whole. This award is an ideal platform to promote those aims.’’

Russell Sessford, Partner at Forresters said: “Sponsoring the ‘Best innovative idea for exploitation’ award is a great way for us to support and highlight the innovations coming out of the UK. We hope that this will help to demonstrate just how good the West Midlands, in particular, is at developing original ideas. We, at Forresters, are here to support innovators with intellectual property advice, from the initial idea right through to the successful exploitation of the idea. The University of Birmingham does a great deal to foster many new businesses based on these innovations and we are very happy to be able to play a part in this competition.”

Businesses interested in finding out more about the competition should contact Luke Jones, Research Development Administrator, T: 0121 414 5888, E: