Region’s firms can boost UK’s science superpower aims, says minister

Amanda Solloway[2]

A senior Government minister is urging Coventry and Warwickshire’s SME businesses to inject fresh impetus into the UK’s ambitions to become a global science super power.

The Government has recently set out a roadmap to make the UK the best place in the world for scientists, researchers and entrepreneurs, working with businesses and universities to make this a reality, alongside a pledge to invest £22 billion in research and development by 2024/25.

And Amanda Solloway MP, who is the Government’s Minister for Science Research and Innovation, told companies on a Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce #PolicyHour video call that now is the time for businesses to seize the opportunity and explore how their business can diversify to be a part of the wider revolution.

Her advice came just days after it was announced that around £312,000 worth of grants are available for SMEs across Coventry and Warwickshire from the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) Growth Hub and Coventry City Council, that will enable SMEs with few than 250 staff to apply for grants of between £1,000 and £5,000 for new equipment and other business-related activities. 

Amanda said: “As companies press the reset button to focus on what drives their profit, I’d call on them to have one eye on the future and where there are potential areas of growth – and science is an area of huge potential.

“The use of robotics and artificial intelligence is on the rise across a range of sectors, and the challenge for us now is exploring how we get this technology into smaller companies in regions such as Coventry and Warwickshire, and having these firms working alongside universities.

“That’s why accessing government grants is really important, as they can be the launchpad for many SMEs that are either looking to start investing in some of the technology, or up-skilling their workforce so they are ready to play a part in our country’s efforts to be a world leader in the science sector.

“The Government’s roadmap to becoming a science superpower focuses around diversity, levelling up investment in businesses across the country in innovation and productivity – all of which will be reflected within the participating businesses themselves.

“Accessing funding is one thing, but a lot of work needs to be put in beforehand, which is why organisations such as the Chamber have a crucial role to play for the business community now more than ever, to help businesses to work out the end benefits of any investment.”

Sean Rose, policy officer at the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, added: “It was exciting for our members to hear from Amanda about how businesses can be part of the Government’s bold move to become a science super power.

“The attention of businesses is starting to turn to how they can start the recovery process from the pandemic, and it’s important that now more than ever business owners are considering other ways in which their business can thrive in the longer term, with support from the Chamber.”