Ambitious plans to create more opportunities for businesses across the UK to innovate and be at the forefront of innovation globally were set out in a speech by Business Secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng yesterday at South Yorkshire’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC).

The Innovation Strategy is a key focus for the government’s plans for economic recovery post-COVID and set to form part of the forthcoming Levelling Up White Paper.

Amongst the measures set out in the strategy are:

  • Increased public investment in Research and Development to a record £22 billion.
  • Changes to procurement to provide an easier route to market for new innovative products and services.
  • Expanded IP education for researchers and international IP Services launched to bolster innovative companies’ and researchers’ ability to confidently collaborate, export and invest overseas.
  • A new action plan on ‘Standards for the Fourth Industrial Revolution’, promoting standards that enable innovation to flourish.
  • support 30,000 senior managers of small and medium sized businesses through Help to Grow: Management to boost their business’s performance, resilience, and long-term growth.

Dan Fell, CEO of Doncaster Chamber, said: “It is terrific that the Government chose to launch its flagship Innovation Strategy in South Yorkshire.  Our region has a proud heritage of innovation and problem solving in sectors such as manufacturing, rail engineering and health care.

“The recent decision by Government to make South Yorkshire a trailblazer for Local Skills Improvement Plans goes hand in glove with this announcement.  The Chamber-led LSIP will play a key role in articulating employers’ skills needs, therefore helping to ensure our region can produce the talented people needed to fill highly skilled jobs and keep our region at the vanguard of technology and innovation.

“The new Innovation Strategy is welcome and Government is right to recognise that innovation is key to improving productivity and creating highly skilled jobs in areas like Doncaster and South Yorkshire.  However, we need to see increased recognition that SMEs are the backbone of our economy and ensure that targeted schemes are introduced to help SMEs innovate and connect with research institutions.

“Some of our most creative, ingenious, and entrepreneurial people operate within an SME environment.  Often they can be rich in ideas but not in time or capital.  As such, when it comes to implementing the new strategy, we need Government to work with regions to foster innovation ecosystems that work for all businesses and not just large and iconic employers.