Entrepreneurship and Innovation

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Times of economic recession have necessitated an imperative need for innovation and creativity. More importantly for small business and startup entrepreneurs. It is time to recollect that the early depression resulted in new technologies and inventions that bought with it new opportunities. Academic research and hands-on experience have established a connection between entrepreneurship and innovation. The survival of entrepreneurs is highly dependent on developing new products and services. Many businessmen are seeing the economic recession as the best time to focus on innovation and new opportunities. Entrepreneurship and innovation can be challenging and disruptive, but if the organization is able to withstand, then they can reap rich rewards. Unconventional ideas that seem impractical in the beginning can lead to some excellent innovations.

Entrepreneurship and innovation both require financial assistance and support for it to be successful. Since, they are responsible for economic growth; the British Government actually nurtures and motivates them. Entrepreneurship and innovation are synonymous key stimulants for economic growth. Stemming from enterprises, innovations usually spark change both socially and economically. Venture Capitalists are also of the strong opinion that an economic downtown will see a marked increase in innovation and entrepreneurship.

When the organization is at start-up or maturing stage, it is wise to innovate constantly. This will sustain demand and margins for the entrepreneur. The concept of incremental change does not work with innovation, with it is disruptive innovation. A disruptive innovation has the unique capacity to transform the market through drastic improvements in the quality of the product or its price.

Innovation And Entrepreneurship In Large Organizations

For large enterprises, innovation and entrepreneurship can be profitable or threatening if it is the weapon of the competitor. They may have to adapt or part with their market share. There are 4 ways in which they can maintain constant innovation:

  • A high degree of uncertainty focussed on market intelligence leads to an innovative and successful business model.
  • Innovation will shape new business practices within the organization.
  • Large organizations can afford to make the decision of motivating their employees to innovate.
  • Form diverse groups as a strategic advantage to creativity and innovation.

How Can Government Aid Innovation And Entrepreneurship

Innovation and entrepreneurship are responsible for creating jobs and spearheading economic growth. So, the British Government must focus on the following steps to nurture them:

  • Invest in education, as innovation and entrepreneurship require an intelligent and creative workforce.
  • Minimize barriers and simplify procedures for boosting innovation and entrepreneurship.
  • Focus on research and development for the benefit of innovation and entrepreneurship.
  • Attract foreign direct investment helps in raising funds for innovation and entrepreneurship.
  • Encourage international trade that will lead to exchange of products, ideas and markets which is favourable for both innovation and entrepreneurship.
  • Help the organizations to write off the tax, in case of a failure in innovation and entrepreneurship.
  • Encourage universities and research organizations to work with the business sector for a mutual benefit.
  • Recognize and reward innovation and entrepreneurship

Innovation And Entrepreneurship In UK

The British Government has undertaken many initiatives to support innovation and entrepreneurship in UK. Financial assistance, guidance from specialists, science and technology parks are available to innovators and entrepreneurs. Every region has Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) concentrate on industry sectors with focus on innovation. RDAs offer financial assistance, help companies to develop their skills and processes through new technologies. The government support includes:

  • Offering expert advice and sharing of technical skills enabling them to innovate
  • Grant is available to businesses that establish a network for specific scientific and technical requirements
  • Sharing of knowledge and expertise from universities and research institutes through ‘knowledge transfer parks’ on a project basis
  • Innovation vouchers to ease access to many academic institutions and sharing of knowledge and risks for exploiting an innovative idea
  • The Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) includes companies, Chamber of Commerce, RDAs and Universities as its members. They provide information on European Union Legislation, help find business partners, offer financial assistance, allow sharing of ideas and promote new technologies.  
  • There are special Business Innovation Centres (BICs) that support innovation and entrepreneurship in the initial stages. Services include sharing or premises at STPs, help with raising funds, finding partners, mentors and guidance on technological issues.
  • There are more than 100 science parks in UK that may be industry specific and offer sharing of knowledge and technologies, financial guidance and expert advice. The UK Science Park Association (UKSPA) offers more details.
  • Become a member at any of the chamber of British Chambers of Commerce for guidance on innovation and entrepreneurship.
  • There are Business cluster zones for sharing of knowledge, technology and skills within specialized industry sectors in a geographical region. 
  • The Technology Strategy Board operates Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) that selects the best innovative ideas. They then assess it for scientific, technical and commercial feasibility and assist in prototype development to the tune of £1 million.
  • Inventors can search for patents and design at the Intellectual Property Office for a small fee. Find legal guidance from any Chartered Patent Attorney or a Trade Mark Attorney. An inventor can approach BICs for financial assistance and support. The UK Accreditation Service (UKAS) is authorised to conduct safety and feasibility tests before launching the product in the market. Inventors can raise funds from angel investors, venture capitalists, RDAs or SBRI. 
  • University Innovation Centres (UICs) are set up region wise to focus on innovation and entrepreneurship. They stimulate R&D by sharing of knowledge and skills. They are the catalysts who initiate innovation and entrepreneurship in that region.

Grants For Innovation And Entrepreneurship In UK

Applications are screened based on innovative ideas and their feasibility. They offer financial assistance and support for further innovation and entrepreneurship.

  • The Grant for Business Investment (GBI) aid in funding for new investment R&D projects for a long-term.
  • The Grant for Research and Development provides grants to SMEs of England.
  • The Department of Health (DH) aids innovation and entrepreneurship related to medicine and health.
  • The European Union funded framework programme encourages international collaborations on innovation and entrepreneurship.
  • EUREKA is a pan-European Network encouraging European wide collaboration in innovation and entrepreneurship.
  • Innovation Vouchers enable SMEs to receive guidance and expert knowledge.
  • The National Endowment for Science, Technology and Arts offers grants or assistance in innovation and entrepreneurship.
  • Knowledge Transfer Networks offer assistance and funding in innovation and entrepreneurship in various industry sectors.