Nesta is an innovation charity with a mission to help people and organisations bring great ideas to life. Every year they publish their predictions for the coming 12 months based on the research and projects they have come across or been working on.
In 2016 they have 10 predictions which BIC Clients should consider when planning their Innovation Strategies and new product developments.
Here with acknowledgment to Nesta is a consideration of the first three:
1. Computer Games that Heal You
The Games Industry has had a bit of a bad press recently from causing the social isolation of teenagers grinding through levels in their bedrooms to the psychological damage caused by playing first-person shooters.
However play as a source of therapy has been around for years and has certainly been of educational benefit but the health benefit of computer games are only just coming to light.
Research shows that 2016 will be the year that doctors start prescribing games to patients especially those with therapeutic potential.
2. Locking the Cyber Backdoor
In 2016 the smart home will make cybersecurity a household concern. As computer-integrated devices start to fill our homes, a threat looms in the shadows. Smart TVs, webcams, thermostats,, door locks, home alarms and lights mean that your home can no longer be protected by physical doors and locks alone. Most of these devices are also collecting personal information about us that could be extremely value to a hacker (or government agency).
Most people don’t realize the threat is even there but in 2016 the smart home will make cybersecurity a household concern.
Many of them companies that make these connected devices use off-the-shelf components and cloud services which they do not have control over. Many of these products have inbuilt security flaws lacking basic protections such as encryption or adequate password systems.
Fortunately an Internet of Things Security Industry is growing out of these concerns and new technologies will emerge to help get our IoT security right.
3. Small food gets Big
This year small farms and boutique producers will use new technology and better data to reach more people than ever and take on the supermarkets.
Sensors and better data will make small farms more viable. New technology will help more people to buy and sell direct. Concerns about food sourcing will get citizens more and more interested in knowing where food comes from. These will start at the top end of the market, like on-line supermarket deliveries but will start taking a significant share by the end of 2016. Farmdrop, Gousto and Hello Fresh type of businesses will grow even delivering food to precisely match recipes.
Research says that 4 in 10 shoppers say that price is their main criteria for food shopping but that leaves 6 in 10 who are interested in factors such as quality, sustainability, health and convenience. Evidence also shows that this interest will only increase as more and more customers have little tolerance for highly processed food and are looking for authenticity, ethics and unique stories in their food which is where the Small Farmer comes to shine.
All this will be good for innovation in food production and distribution and scope for new services and apps to sell to these customers.
we’d like to wish you and your family a very happy Christmas and a Great New Year.
p.s Back on the 4th Jan 2016
At the Centre for Refurbishment Excellence in Longton on 8 December 2015 the BIC Team celebrated the end of their latest three year ERDF European funded project and were joined by thirty guests for an Afternoon Tea.
The aim of their SBIS II Project was to encourage new High Value – High Growth businesses in Staffordshire especially ones that are able to employ graduates and develop new products or processes.
Through their one to one business advice; a series of self development workshops on Innovation; a £4,500 fund to help companies employ specialist advice to help their companies grow through Innovation and investment in small Incubation office units the BIC were able to achieve the outputs this project required.
They created 278 new jobs, 102 new businesses, gave intensive assistance of over 12 hours to 192 companies and awarded £300,000 of funding to local businesses and saw the development of many fascinating new products and the growth of many business through innovation.
The project was evaluated independently by Baswich Business Consultancy and according to Jonathan Andrew who carried out the evaluation the project was a resounding success and he was overwhelmed by the positive feedback on the support the companies were given and the expertise and knowledge provided by BIC staff.
Quotes from BIC clients included:
“Invaluable support, made a huge difference to our business”
“Excellent support from the BIC team, vital for the development of the business”
“The BIC team was brilliant as always! We love the BIC. Thanks are due to the whole team”
Sally and Sandra from the Business Innovation Centre visited the tenants at the Sutherland Institute selling cakes for Children in Need. As usual the tenants digged deep into their pockets and in total £40 was raised towards the charity.
The home of the European Commission was the destination of a delegation from the BIC team recently. They travelled to Brussels to attend the Annual Conference of the European Business Network entitled “New Frontiers for Innovative Entrepreneurs”. The event was attended by over 350 delegates from all over the world, delegates with Innovation in the forefront of their activities.
The team met no less than fourteen European Commissioners and discussed varying subjects from Creative Digital technologies and Environmental Sustainability to European investment and Internationalisation. It was an excellent opportunity to highlight to the European Commission the innovative capabilities of our region and the opportunities for investment. It was also an opportunity to help direct future European policy.
Jackie Millward, Geoff Riley & Sandra Butterworth
What is The Start-Up?
‘The Start Up’ is a competition delivered by Youth Enterprise, BES and Stoke-on-Trent City Council and partners to award Stoke-on-Trent’s best and brightest entrepreneurs.
The competition is open to business start-ups that have been trading since September 2013 and to entrepreneurs with new business ideas that are looking to start in the near future.
Once the competition closes on the 28th October 2015, all applicants will need to pitch their business ideas to a local selection committee. These short pitches will take place on the 12th & 13th November 2015.
The full field of competitors will then be invited to the finals evening at the Kings Hall in Stoke on the 18th November 2015.
Here FOUR finalists will be selected to pitch live to our panel of high profile judges.
Associates and prize partners
We would like to thank The Start Up competition’s main associate Stoke-on-Trent City Council for making the Start-Up possible. We would also like to thank the Newcastle Business Improvement District and Newcastle Borough Council for donating this year’s additional prize option of free retail space in Newcastle under Lyme’s town centre!
The Event is being project managed by local companies Youth Enterprise CIC and Business Enterprise Support and we are very grateful for their time and effort in organising what promises to be a great night.
How do you join the competition?
To join The Start Up and be in with your chance of winning up to £8,000 grant funding, download and complete the application and state aid forms below.
The completed forms need to be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org by midnight 28th October 2015.
If you have any questions about the competition or sign up process, please email our application team by clicking the “Enter The Competition” link below, or contacting them on 01283 537 151.
Jackie Millward, Sandra Butterworth and Geoff Riley of the Staffs BIC have just been made Fellow Members of the Institute of Enterprise & Entrepreneurs
The Institute’s programmes and qualifications are built on the extensive research that underpins the SFEDI® National Occupational Standards and the expertise of the Institute of Enterprise and Entrepreneurs, the UK’s only professional Institute dedicated to enterprise.
BIC staff are all accredited SFEDI employees and Jackie, Sandra and Geoff are also members of the Institute of Business Consulting and the BIC itself is annually inspected by the European Business Network to ensure that the company and its employees reach the required European standard to deliver its services and help companies grow through Innovation.
The BIC offers advice on new product ideas, innovation, new product development, finance, IT, new product marketing and leadership in innovation and is well versed in funding opportunities available to local businesses.
In the last three years the BIC has awarded £500,000 to Staffordshire businesses to help them employ additional personnel and grow through Innovation.
The BIC runs a number of self development workshops on Innovation and networking events to inform delegates on new technologies or new schemes for investment in Innovation.
The BIC also offers Incubation Facilities to help people set up in business with their ideas.
The Units are fully furnished and come complete with an IMac computer and broadband access and the support of BIC staff. They are currently £45 plus VAT a week with the first month free of charge.
The BIC has three offices in Staffordshire – Newcastle under Lyme, Stafford and Stoke on Trent
A PR agency based in Stafford has benefitted from the Regional Growth Fund’s Grow on Growth Initiative allowing the company to move from its existing office within the Business Innovation Centre to a beautiful town centre building, immediately opposite St Mary’s Church in Stafford.
The Grow on Growth Fund provides grant funding to support businesses moving from incubation, allowing them to enter a new stage of expansion and development. Financed by the Regional Growth Fund and managed by the University of Lincoln, grant funding can be used to support capital investment in property, refurbishment, commercial rent, equipment, IT and new technology investment as well as staff recruitment and training costs.
Stone Junction, an agency that specialises in PR for technology and engineering firms is recruiting a further four members of staff hence their need to move and invest in new technology to help manage its growth.
“One of the key things about Grow on Growth is that it covers commercial rent – as well as everything from fit out to training and technology,” explained Stone Junction Managing Director, Richard Stone. “This is the holy grail of business funding really – increased rent is a key fixed cost that stops many small companies leaving incubation space.
“Our own incubation unit was on Staffordshire Technology Park, in the Business Innovation Centre. Initially we were in a two man office operated by the BIC and later we moved to an eight person unit managed by the local authority. Both spaces have been key parts of our development and both were equally brilliant. I can’t recommend them enough.
Stone Junction – Stafford
“I would urge other small business owners to take the next step upwards, particularly as there are now so many funded, part funded and subsidised options for offices.”
Businesses interested in taking advantage of Grow on Growth to move out of an incubation environment should contact Arnaud Drapier at the University of Lincoln on +44 (0)1522 837847 http://growongrowth.co.uk
On 11 June 2015 BIC Chief Executive Geoff Riley had the honour of presenting the Best Product Award at the West Midlands Regional Finals of Young Enterprise to “Write” from St Dominics School, Brewood, Staffordshire:
Geoff Riley presenting the Award to Write’s Managing Director, Emily Heath
“Write” won the Award for their ‘complete yourself’ series of three Children’s Books aimed at Key Stage 1 and 2 children (5 – 10 years old). The stories allow children to develop their imagination and education at the same time and were praised for helping children with dyslexia and reading difficulties. The reader can follow lovable characters Copper and Dotty who have built a time machine. They will learn about key eras in Britain’s history including the Victorians, Anglo-Saxons, Vikings and more whilst at the same time completing various activities as relating to the plot including colouring, mathematics, word problems, outdoor games and puzzles.
The team were particularly praised for their marketing efforts as “Write” managed to achieve Number One Best Seller Status with the global online store Amazon in the UK and USA with their first book.
Each activity storybook costs £6.99 ‘Once Upon a Journey”; ‘Once upon an Adventure’ and ‘Once Upon a Time’. You can purchase ‘Once Upon a Time by clicking here.
“Write” went on to represent the West Midlands in the National Finals of Young Enterprise in London in July but unfortunately did not progress to the European Finals.
The BIC is always keen to encourage Innovation at all ages and has sponsored Young Enterprise for many years.
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