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Greater Birmingham & Solihull LEP

GBSLEP Growth Hub

The Growth Hub aims to enable businesses to get the right advice at the right time so they can grow and be successful. The Growth Hub operates in Birmingham, Bromsgrove, Cannock Chase, East Staffordshire, Lichfield, Redditch, Solihull, Tamworth and Wyre Forest.

GBSLEP Sustainability Hub

The GBSLEP Sustainability Hub is for SMEs that are looking to receive support to achieve their decarbonisation and clean growth innovation objectives. By addressing climate change from a business strategy perspective, your business can find opportunity to develop new products, technologies, and services that will meet changing consumer demand and in turn generate growth and competitive advantage.

Are you a small business who wants to understand your carbon footprint? Would you like to see where you can strategically invest in your business to be more sustainable? Do you want to explore how you can innovate to tap into new low carbon commercial opportunities?

If you have answered yes to any of the questions above, or simply want to see what is on offer from the GBSLEP Sustainability Hub then this hub can help supply you with a number of programmes suitable to your business.

Any SME registered for business within the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP can receive 1-to-1 advice from a Growth Hub Adviser. Any business with between 11 and 249 employees registered for business within the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP geography can access their Clean Growth support programmes.

Innovate UK EDGE

Innovate UK EDGE provide a range of services to help ambitious, innovative SMEs scale and grow through:

  • Exploiting innovation: By protecting and harnessing IP, improving innovation management and connecting to the innovation ecosystem globally. In addition to Sector Innovation Leads at Innovate UK, they have strong relationships with ecosystem players including Catapults, Laboratories, KTN, the investor community and universities
  • Entering new markets
  • Sourcing funding and finance

Solihull Sustainability Visioning Group

Solihull Sustainability Visioning Group aims to help Solihull to be at the forefront of sustainable business development and a showcase for environmental business standards, supporting Solihull’s transition to a low carbon economy. It is led by senior business representatives and stakeholders.

Peer Networks

Peer Networks is a national peer-to-peer networking programme for SME leaders that want to grow their business. The programme is fully funded by BEIS so there is no cost to businesses, and delivered locally by Growth Hubs. Support is available to SMEs from any sector that have:

  • Operated for at least one year
  • At least five employees
  • A turnover of at least £100,000
  • An aspiration to improve

Funding & Support

Grants and support are available to GBSLEP SMEs on a broad range of sustainability issues. We’ve listed just a few of these below:

ARLI – Alternative Raw Materials with Low Impact: aimed to drive collaborative research and development among SMEs to enable the development of products and processes that provide energy efficiency games in the use of raw and waste materials.

Aston University’s Smarterials Programme: aims to promote functional materials in SMEs. It aims to help companies grow their business through a partnership built on research, testing and expertise in material science. It enables new and established SMEs access to experts at the forefront of the latest research into materials development who can help you to drive your business forward.

ATETA: aims to promote research and innovation in the adoption of zero carbon energy technologies for SME’s that are active in the Black Country, Coventry, Warwickshire, Worcestershire and the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership Areas. Since its launch in 2017 it has offered advice and support to more than 100 businesses.

BASIS – Birmingham & Solihull Industrial Symbiosis Project: aims to work with SMEs to quantify their wastes and seek resource efficiency improvements that deliver financial savings. These underutilised resources can be process by-products, discarded waste materials, low grade energy, waste water discharges, logistics (empty vehicle movements), capacity (such as warehouse or office space) and shared expertise.

Climate Innovation Platform (CIP): The University of Birmingham, in partnership with the Energy Systems Catapult, is looking for businesses committed to driving energy technology innovation to join the CIP. Supported by HSBC UK and part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), CIP offers businesses a package of tailored support to drive the commercialisation of innovative energy products and services. Spring 2023 opportunities can be found here.

EBRI – Energy & Bioproducts Research Institute (EBRI): EBRI leads and delivers a range of research projects and collaborations with partners in the West Midlands, UK, Europe and beyond. Projects focus on the adoption of bioenergy technologies in both urban and rural settings and the provision of support to businesses to enable them to make informed bioenergy decisions. Support is available to SMEs wanting to develop low carbon goods and services.

Higher Level Skills Match (HLSM): HLSM is a free project partnered with the GBSLEP to help define, obtain and develop the skills and talent that local SME’s need to grow, and can be used to focus on a company’s sustainability. Some services that are on offer through the HLSM project include: a dedicated account manager for two years who will work with you to identify the best way to source the skills your business needs both now and in the future; upskilling yourself or colleagues through attending leadership and business development workshops, focused on SME needs such as sustainability; recruitment support and initiatives from all three partner universities (Aston University, Birmingham City University and Newman University); and growing your own professional network by attending exclusive HLSM networking events.

Low Carbon SMEs: The Low Carbon SMEs project uses university academics to provide short and long term support to SMEs. Projects leading to a reduction in energy consumption, carbon emissions and process inefficiencies within high energy using organisations are eligible for support including a free diagnostic evaluating your sites’ energy use and process efficiencies, a grant of up to £12,250, one to one advice and innovation support, and sector specific workshops.

PIVOT is a programme to accelerate cross-industry innovation in West Midlands supply chains. It will do this by mobilising the expertise of regional clusters to identify and stimulate supply chain companies to diversify their business portfolios by developing their technologies and innovations ready to address business and technology challenges that are being faced in new, emerging or simply different markets (it’s the switch that is the pivot). It builds on a model that has already proved successful in the aerospace industry of supporting a significant portfolio of distinct technology development projects, and applies it to demand-led innovations that cross sector boundaries.