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One of my colleagues from the IT team posted an article on the firm’s intranet on the topic of a “£2m government funding pot launched for SME accountancy & HR tech”. At which point, I was intrigued to see how applicable it may to be our client base. The conclusion I reached was not generally applicable based on my reading to scope of projects being sought and the previous applicants – but please read on..
What is the Business Basics Fund?
The Business Basics Fund, a series of open competitions, is the main element of the Business Basics Programme. The fund aims to build evidence on how to encourage SMEs to adopt productivity boosting technology and/or management practices. It is administered by Innovate UK, on behalf of BEIS. The results (successful) applicants from ‘Rounds 1 and 2’ can be found here.
‘Round 3’ – overview
The competition launched last month was ‘Round 3’. This round is looking to fund trials only, not proof of concept projects, specifically to fund trials which test different approaches to encouraging SMEs to adopt existing technologies that are associated with productivity improvements.
Your proposal must focus on technologies which support business and administrative functions, such as payment practices, accountancy and human resources. Examples of the types of technologies in scope include one or more of the following:
- accountancy software
- e-commerce transactions
- payment technologies, such as e-invoicing
- cloud based computing
- customer relationship management (CRM) software
- supply chain management (SCM) software
- HR management systems (HRM) software
- enterprise resource planning (ERP) software (which can include CRM, SCM, HRM, finance, purchasing and so on)
Your proposal must demonstrate:
- how your approach intends encourage more SMEs to use the technologies
- that your project has potential to be effectively scaled
- that your project is innovative and will add to the evidence base
- all project work must be carried out in England
- all selected projects must start on or shortly after 1 June 2020
- grant funding of up to £400,000 per project is available
- you must have an independent evaluation partner
- the guidance and links to the Innovation Funding Service (IFS) provide further information, details of events and webinars, and help on evaluation and finding partners
‘Round 3’- More details
There appears to be two strands to the competitions, further details are below and full details can be found via the links:
|Non-business led||Business led|
|Lead organisation||A UK registered public sector organisation, university or research and technology organisation (RTO), charity or not for profit company||UK based business of any size|
|Specific themes||They welcome proposals that focus one or more of the following:
|Projects they will not fund||They will not fund projects that:
|Grant intervention rates||Depend on type and size of organisation applying and on type of project|
By Andrew James