6 ISSUES FOR JUST £6 Subscribe to Business & Professional Life today CLICK HERE

BPE Solicitors : Bringing brilliant ideas to life

PUBLISHED: 09:00 17 February 2016

Rob Bryan

Rob Bryan

Archant

The British are known for being brilliant at ideas, less so at commercialising them. But that’s changing, says Rob Bryan, partner at BPE Solicitors

2015 was a difficult year for UK manufacturing. The decline in global demand, particularly from China, a strong pound making it more expensive for overseas customers to buy from us, and a severe drop in oil prices. Lower oil costs are good news for consumers of course, less good news for the UK industry that supports it.

While UK GDP was marginally up, by 0.4% as we go to print, it is concerning to see a 0.2% drop in production, which fell away after briefly rising the previous quarter. With global headwinds increasing, our challenge in the UK is to build the right conditions for growth, for businesses not to be hampered by costs and for great ideas to be given the opportunity to come to life.

This country is often accused of being great at ideas, less good at turning them into profitable, commercial businesses. The infamous Sinclair C5, an electrically assisted pedal cycle launched in1985 was a commercial failure and Sir Clive Sinclair was ridiculed for it. How quickly the media forgot that Clive Sinclair had been knighted after decades of launching successful technology such as the first slim-line pocket calculator (1972) and the UK’s first mass market home computer which sold for less than £100. Nobody gets it right all the time.

There’s never been a shortage of innovation in the UK and recent UK governments have understood and maintained their investment in research and development as a result, but it is in the commercialising of that R&D that support should also be maintained.

For entrepreneurial businesses and inventors, especially those who haven’t come through academic channels but need to invest in R&D to develop an idea perhaps drawn up on the back on an envelope, it can be difficult to access funding and investment. Funding has traditionally gone through academic research routes, but we know well here at BPE that there can be a gulf between the language of academia and business. As the only law firm in the UK with a practice dedicated to science, technology and engineering, where all of our solicitors have direct experience of innovation, we are asked to help bridge this gap too often.

Things are changing. In this issue of Cotswold Life Business & Professional you’ll read an interview with Stuart Martin, CEO of the Satellite Applications Catapult. He highlights the ‘open door’ policy of Catapults, anyone can visit and discuss ideas with others in the same sector. It’s very exciting. It’s the same within all the other UK Catapults, physical centres with state of the art facilities and expertise where collaborative research and development can bring ideas to life.

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships are another way in which projects are supported. These are three-way collaborations between a business, university and funder (often InnovateUK, of which more later), where the university receives funding to develop a business project.

Knowledge Transfer Networks bring together businesses, entrepreneurs, academics and funders to develop new products, processes and services. These operate on a network basis, so one sector can engage with another because greater value can be created by people not working silo-fashion. Knowledge Transfer Networks get players at different levels of the supply chain and in different supply chains working together.

All government funding for innovation is done through InnovateUK (previously called the Technology Strategy Board), an exceptional organisation delivering £7 gross value added to the country for every £1 spent. Its five-point plan building on UK innovation excellence, investing locally in areas of strength, should give confidence to innovation driven organisations.

These are just some of the funding streams available. It’s a complicated funding landscape and needs to be simplified.

Last year, Professor Dame Ann Dowling’s Review of Business-University Research Collaborations, commissioned by government, was published. She came to some key conclusions: public support for the UK’s innovation system is too complex, people are central to successful collaborations, continued state support is needed and the Government strategy on innovation needs to be better co-ordinated.

In a highly competitive global market, as the number of manufacturing and engineering businesses with whom we work at BPE increases, exceptional innovation is always their key to growth.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Cotswold Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Cotswold Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Cotswold Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Cotswold Life

Yesterday, 17:16

Stepping up to receive the world’s first MBA Leading Business degrees at the ceremony were Sarah Bryars, Chief Executive of Target; Luke Freeman, Joint Chief Executive of MF Freeman; and Linsey Temple, Chief Executive of Gloucestershire Engineering Training

Read more
Yesterday, 17:04

“I am thrilled to see InfoSec People win this fantastic award which is a testament to the brilliant team we have built in the past few years.”

Read more
Yesterday, 16:36

After a stress-free shopping experience browsing designer brands this Christmas? Look no further than the luxury offerings of The Mailbox in Birmingham

Read more
Yesterday, 10:24

This year sees the 40th anniversary of the publication of Raymond Briggs’ original picture book The Snowman. With three performances of the animated film – with live orchestra – coming to Gloucester Cathedral next month, we thought we’d catch up with Rachel Whibley, managing director of Carrot Productions (and occasional snowman), to find out more...

Read more
Mon, 14:10

It’s the season of terrible puns, magic lamps, and generous genies: Aladdin, the all-new panto at the Everyman, has been written by none other than legendary Blue Peter presenter Peter Duncan, and stars everyone’s favourite clown, Tweedy. The Barnard family from Nailsworth - mum, dad, Harriet (12) and Lewis (6) - made a Wishee (Washee) for tickets; grabbed their car (Window Twan) keys; and dashed off to see A Ladd In Cheltenham

Read more
Mon, 13:45

Crispy, frosty days and perhaps even a dusting of snow, winter is a magical time in the Cotswolds. If you’re thinking of tying the knot during this beautiful season in the region, here are six winter wedding ideas to help you start planning your special day

Read more

Christmas in the Wilson household is a heartwarming, traditional family affair

Read more
Mon, 13:15

Tracy Spiers takes an impressive, if hypothetical, budget on a shopping spree in Cheltenham’s independent stores

Read more
Mon, 13:09

Veganism is the latest food trend to hit the Cotswolds but it’s something we can all enjoy a bite of

Read more
Mon, 12:23

Get out and enjoy seasonal celebrations with a Cotswold twist

Read more
Mon, 12:21

The weekend is fast approaching and for those still deciding how to spend their Friday through to Sunday, we pick 5 of the best ways to spend your weekend in the Cotswolds

Read more
Mon, 09:13

Alleviate the stress of hectic Christmas preparation and endless shopping trips with a festive afternoon tea in one of these gorgeous Cotswold settings

Read more
Friday, December 7, 2018

Find a fabulous gift for everyone with Whatley Manor’s monetary vouchers.

Read more
Thursday, December 6, 2018

One lucky reader could win a pair of tickets to see Ella Mills, founder of Deliciously Ella, at Calcot Manor as well as two signed copies of ‘The Plant-Based Cookbook’

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory A+ Education

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search