Yorkshire businesses need to use innovation incentives

Dr. David Littlewood, Sheffield University Management School, presents the results of the SCR QES Q3 2017 to business leaders.

Yorkshire businesses need to use innovation incentives

Innovation is fundamental to success in today’s fast-moving business world, for both large and small manufacturing and service firms.

Businesses that innovate not only see higher growth, but are more resilient as they are better positioned to adapt to changes in the market. 

The results of the Sheffield City Region Quarterly Economic Survey Q3 – based on local business responses – show that, of those who say they innovate, 81% of manufacturing and 67% of services commit revenue to innovation/R&D in their business plans, but that 30% of firms don’t invest at all.

It is promising that 67% of manufacturing and service firms say that the amount they will spend on investment over the next 12 months will remain the same, while 30% said it will increase.

Prof Tim Vorley from Sheffield University Management School, said: “Innovation translates into growth as businesses benefit from increased sales, by accessing new markets and boosting productivity.

“While there are incentives and support available for companies looking to innovate, the QES results show they’re not always widely taken up which represents an opportunity for the Sheffield City Region Growth Hub.”

Of those firms that innovate, 84% do not claim any R&D tax relief, while 82% have not accessed any public funding for innovation/R&D activities.

Firms are more likely to innovate independently (32%) or with customers (29%) than with other businesses (20%) or universities (10%). 

Tim continued: “Understandably, levels of innovation vary business to business and sector to sector.”

“The challenge for businesses and government is to foster a more collaborative culture that sees innovation become the norm.”

The Sheffield City Region has an Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District which encompasses and connects the wealth of local business and academic ideas and abilities to boost business and grow the local economy, but the survey shows that more can be done.

The Economic Survey results will be used by the region’s Chambers and Local Enterprise Partnership to better inform local, regional and national government and policy-makers on these and other business issues and help them to address any barriers that firms currently face with innovation and other business issues.

The Survey – run by the Sheffield City Region’s  four Chambers of Commerce, with the support of the Local Enterprise Partnership, Growth Hub and Sheffield University Management School, and sponsored by The Source, Meadowhall – is part of a national survey coordinated by the British Chambers of Commerce to act as an economic indicator for the Bank of England and to advise Whitehall.