ARCHIVE: Small Business Research Initiative
The Small Business Research Initiative was launched by the Small Business Service in April 2001 and is designed to increase the success of smaller firms (as well as charities and other independent organisations) in obtaining contracts from Government bodies to conduct research and development.
The R&D procurement programmes of Government Departments and the Research Councils (worth up to £1 billion per-annum in total) are being opened up to smaller firms. The Government Departments involved will aim to buy at least 2.5% of their R&D requirements from smaller businesses. The Research Councils will move to meet the same targets - in time and drawing upon new money. The target is for £50 million worth of Government research to be bought from smaller firms.
Aims and eligibility requirements
The aims of the SBRI are:
- to strengthen those existing small firms whose businesses are based upon providing R&D - by increasing the size of the market;
- to encourage other smaller businesses to increase their R&D capabilities and capacity - to exploit the new market opportunities;
- and to create opportunities for starting new technology-based or knowledge-based businesses.
Businesses must meet certain criteria to participate in the SBRI:
- they should have fewer than 250 employees;
- their annual turnover must not be greater than ECU 40 Million (about £26M) or alternatively their balance sheet total should not higher than ECU 27 Million (about £17M);
- they must be independent (that is, less than 25% of the business is owned by enterprises that do not conform to the other criteria - this rule need not apply to investments that are held by public investment corporations, venture capital companies or other institutional investors provided that they do not exercise control over the business).
Charities, university spin-offs, individuals and groups are eligible to participate if they fulfill the above criteria.
Defra Research opportunities
All Defra research competitions are open to Small Businesses.
Under SBRI, Defra's aim is to obtain at least 2.5% of its research requirements from smaller businesses by 2005 and thereafter.
Details on current research opportunities are available here. Interested firms are strongly recommended to monitor this area of our website on a regular basis so that they may take advantage of new calls for R&D proposals. The site also explains how firms can be notified by email of new competitions as they emerge.
last modified: 4 March 2005
Page published: 4 March 2005