We believe that the rate of diffusion of innovation is not high enough in the UK economy and is one of the causes of low productivity. To boost productivity the Government launched the Industrial Strategy in October 2017, and followed this up by publishing a call for evidence for the Business Productivity Review. Small businesses have a critical role to play in increasing the rate of diffusion of innovation by adopting new to firm innovation. Small businesses innovate on a regular basis, but to become more productive we need to see more support for small firms to help them introduce significant new to firm innovations, including improving leadership and management capabilities and adopting digital technologies. We also need to see more support for small firms looking to introduce new to market innovations through improving small businesses’ awareness to the R&D tax credits and improving clarity and understanding of the scope of what is covered through R&D tax credits. We called for various policy recommendations including easing the administrative burden, reducing complexity of the system, and ensuring the tax credit is clearly enough signposted for SMEs. Furthermore, UK Research and Innovation should be the go-to-agency for smaller firms in all sectors looking to undertake new to market innovation.
We are liaising with BEIS colleagues on the grand challenges and the underpinning missions and were very pleased with the launch of the Business Basics Fund to promote policy interventions that address the productivity puzzle by improving leadership and management practices and adopting digital technologies.
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