Three Years of Innovation Success
28th March 2013
A scheme to drive innovation and business growth in Lincolnshire has benefited more than 450 businesses with one-to-one support and free workshops and helped boost the local economy by £1 million.
Business development consultancy ANGLE has been delivering Lincolnshire County Council’s Innovation Advice and Guidance (IAG) programme to the business community since January 2010.
Part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the programme has engaged directly with more than 300 of those businesses, offering 12 or more hours of one-to-one advice and support to help local firms realise their full potential.
The programme will now draw to a close at the end of March 2013.
Renewable energy company 4eco, based in Binbrook, worked with Innovation Advice and Guidance to review its existing business model so that changes could be put in place to help the business grow after creating a new product.
Jodi Huggett, Business Development Director at 4eco Ltd, said: “The timing of our work with Innovation Advice and Guidance was critical. They understood the industry which we work within and offered a huge amount of support to help us make the most of our marketing budget. Working with them has proved invaluable to our fast-growing business.”
Sleaford-based motorcycle manufacturer Rieju UK is the UK’s only importer and distributor for the brand, acting as a wholesaler to dealers across the UK. They began working with IAG when they needed to market a new electric moped, the MIUS.
MD Jamie Masterman said: “From a marketing point of view we went back to basics, going through a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis to see where we stood.
“IAG were able to take a portion of the work which needed to be carried out, such as the research into the markets the mopeds might appeal to, and correlate it into a useable chunk of data for us to move forward with. It always helps to have someone outside of the business get involved and look at things with fresh eyes.”
During their three years in operation, IAG offered advice ranging from ways to develop new working practices and how to conduct market research to launching a new product, engaging with PR companies and developing a better business model. The IAG team used a range of innovative tools and techniques to help businesses to maximise their potential.
Part of the project’s remit was also to encourage a culture of innovation across Lincolnshire’s SME base, something which was achieved through more than 35 business improvement workshops and events. As a result of the project, the economy has been boosted by more than £1 million and over 20 new jobs have been created.
Another firm to benefit from the programme was agricultural firm Crop Intellect Ltd. Dr Apostolos Papadopoulos, known as Tolis, said: “One valuable piece of advice was that I would need to look at taking someone on if I wanted to grow, as there was a limit to how much I could do myself.
“I’ve now got a team of people I can regularly contract work out to depending on what the project is. The other major part of the business they helped me with was applying for the GrowthAccelerator programme, which I have been accepted on to.”
Martin Cooke, Director of Management Services at ANGLE, said: “We’re confident that, through the work we’ve done, we’re leaving the Lincolnshire business community in a strong position to grow and develop, adding value to the local economy and getting Lincolnshire known as a place to do business.”
The project will come to an end on 31stMarch 2013. After that point, businesses will be able to seek advice from www.businesslincolnshire.com, the county’s primary business support website. Previous cases studies and examples of the project’s work can be viewed at www.innovationlincolnshire.co.uk.
- The Innovation Advice and Guidance programme is a Lincolnshire County Council Initiative and is part-financed by the European Regional Development Fund.
- It was launched following the successful Innovation Lincolnshire pilot scheme, which ran between 2007 and 2009 and aimed to develop the county’s innovative business potential.
- The programme launched in January 2010 and will draw to a close on 31st March 2013
- The programme has included workshops and one-to-one support for businesses across Lincolnshire