24 May 2016

£10.1million innovation boost for hundreds of firms via D2N2

Hundreds of small and medium-sized companies will receive help to innovate and grow with the aid of £10.1million in funding through the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership.

The major project will be part-financed by funds via D2N2 – the business-led partnership promoting economic growth and jobs creation across Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire – over three years.

‘Enabling Innovation’ will cost £20.3m in total.

D2N2 will provide £10.1m of that through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) portion of its allocation of €251m in European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF), giving significant financial support to the project. The University of Derby, University of Nottingham and Nottingham Trent University will deliver the project and also co-invest in it.

The D2N2 LEP area universities will look to help more than 2,000 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across the two counties (over three years), invest in research and innovation; to make them more competitive, enabling them to grow and create high skill jobs.

They will do this by providing SMEs with:

  • access to specialist university technology centres including in advanced manufacturing, food science, materials analysis and advanced imaging;
  • access to a range of expertise, for example in linguistics, sustainability and marketing;
  • help on business projects from university students, guided by senior academics;
  • business development workshops on themes such as leadership and management,  finance, customer engagement and brand development;
  • networking and knowledge exchange workshops and events.


Universities’ students, graduates and academics will also be encouraged to set-up their own knowledge-based SMEs.

D2N2’s Growth Hub team will be supporting those delivering the project, by helping them engage with SMEs. The Growth Hub supports new and established SMEs with help in business strategy and growth, marketing, networking and accessing funding for expansion; using its regional and national business networks to enable businesses to find the right help.

The Growth Hub can be contacted about the Enabling Innovation project on 0333 006 9178 or by email to

Peter Richardson, Chairman of the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “The £10.1million announced today via the D2N2 LEP will help hundreds of SMEs access expert help, to innovate and grow their business; creating jobs in our key economic sectors including food and drink manufacturing, life sciences and transport equipment manufacturing.

“This is a significant boost towards the LEP achieving its over-arching target of helping create 55,000 additional private sector jobs over ten years and growing the number of businesses. Our area holds academic and industry know-how operating at an international level, and through these schemes SMEs will have access to that.”

Dr George Baxter, Director of Research, Enterprise and Graduate Services at the University of Nottingham, added: “Small businesses right across Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire will be able to benefit from ‘Enabling Innovation’ and tap into the expertise offered by three universities.

“This wide-reaching programme really has the potential to enable local businesses to make a step change in the way they work, giving them a competitive advantage in their marketplace, and helping them to grow and create new jobs.”

To learn more about how the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership is growing the economy of its area see its website at

Media wanting more information about this news release can contact D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership Communications Manager Sean Kirby on 0115 9578749 or 

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