Energy Innovation Centre partnership helps 100s of SMEs

Published: 2 July 2019

Introduction

The Innovator Support Platform helps SMEs navigate the challenges of energy system transformation and capture opportunities for growth.

With the Universal Support element of this service making reports, guides and events available to all businesses – providing insight into market dynamics, financing, technology development and more. It also helps SMEs identify the right partners and signposts to the right help within our Deliver Support Network. 

A key Universal Support partner is the Energy Innovation Centre (EIC), an organisation that connects energy networks with SMEs and is helping us reach a wider innovator audience. 

7000+

1,500 innovators

25,000 people

Active innovator community fostered through partnershipUsed the online Funding Finder tool in 6 months after launchExposed to joint publications via social media over 12 months

 

The Challenge and Opportunity

Part of the EIC’s mission is to help gas and electricity network partners discover and integrate new technologies. The EIC is always looking for ways to build links with SMEsincluding publishing the latest research and market intelligence 

There is natural synergy with the Catapult’s Innovator Support Platform – which offers whole systems capabilities and has an SME audience facing different challenges to delivering innovations. 

By sharing resources, expertise and insightboth organisations are extending their reach, delivering greater value to more companies. 

The Solution 

The Catapult partnership has enabled the EIC to create vital resources for SMEs. We’ve worked together on research, guides and reports, which are delivered through the Innovator Support Platform as well as the EIC’s own channels. 

Examples include market reviews, surveys, a directory of UK test and demonstration facilities, and a range of guides to help companies better understand the energy system. The online Funding Finder tool makes it easy for innovators to discover relevant innovation calls and investment opportunities, and the EIC Hub gives SMEs a community to build their network. 

The Impact  

We’ve been working with the EIC for three years, and the partnership has enabled both of us to boost reach and deliver more value 

The Catapult is now able to support SMEs in the wider energy space at scale. The core incubation and acceleration services in our Innovator Support platform focus on digitalisation and smart energy. But through this partnership, we’re helping companies working more broadly to understand the energy market, focus their thinking, plan product development and access funding. For example, SMEs innovating in works noise reduction, leak detection systems and safety equipment have received financing and fostered partnerships with network operators. And 11 companies exhibited alongside the EIC and network operators at LCNI and Utility Week Live in 2018. 

The SME community created, currently has more than 7,000 members, having grown by over 5,500 in the past 12 months. 1,489 innovators used the Funding Finder tool in the 6 months after its launch, and through social media, more than 25,000 people have been exposed to our joint publications in 12 months. 

As one SME said: “The resources make it much easier to understand the initial steps we need to take when it comes to refining a proposition and bringing a product to market. There’s so much information out there, and having the Catapult as a reliable one-stop shop helps cut through the complexity. I recommend that any company looking at energy sector opportunities check out the resources.” 

Greater knowledge of energy sector challenges 

Joint Catapult/EIC research covering more than 1,500 SMEs and 7 network operators has identified 10 key SME challenges – from accessing expertise and funding through to pacing innovation and measuring success. This insight has allowed both the Catapult and the EIC to refine our offerings for maximum impact. Follow-up research is now underway to track progress and understand evolving trends. 

About the Energy Innovation Centre 

The Energy Innovation Centre was launched to fast-track the discovery, development and deployment of innovation among the transmission and distribution network operators that power homes and businesses. It works with industry and SMEs to promote technologies that address system-wide challenges. 

For case studies of our work together, please visit: https://www.ukeic.com/case-studies