Prime Minister backs review of the SBRI programme to increase impact for innovators

Posted on 21 November 2016 (Permalink)

Prime Minister Theresa May has given her backing to the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) in a speech to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) today. 

Addressing the CBI's annual conference in London this morning, Mrs May pledged a review of the SBRI programme to increase its impact and to help connect public sector challenges with innovative ideas from industry, supporting companies to generate economic growth and enabling improvement in achieving government objectives. 

SBRI provides innovative solutions to challenges faced by the public sector, leading to better public services and improved efficiency and effectiveness. It generates new business opportunities for companies, provides small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) a route to market for their ideas and bridges the seed funding gap experienced by many early stage companies. 

One part of the SBRI programme, SBRI Healthcare, is an NHS England initiative, championed by the Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs),  to promote UK economic growth while addressing unmet health needs and enhancing the uptake of best practice.

In her speech, Mrs May said: "Government can also step up to help drive innovative procurement, particularly from small businesses – just as the United States does so effectively. There, strategic use of government procurement not only spurs innovation in the public sector, it gives new firms a foot in the door. In fact, many of the technologies in your smartphone, from touchscreens to voice recognition, were originally commissioned, not by Apple or Microsoft, but by the US government.

"So I can announce today that we will review our Small Business Research Initiative and look at how we can increase its impact and give more innovators their first break. And that Cambridge entrepreneur David Connell will lead the review and report back next year."

The full text of Mrs May's speech can be read here