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Our Story and Funders

Co-Innovate is an innovation support programme for London-based SMEs, entrepreneurs and start-ups. Our goal is to help companies achieve business growth through collaboration with Brunel University London’s world class academic expertise, knowledge assets and facilities. We are jointly funded by Brunel University London and the European Regional Development Fund.

The programme is further divided into two projects which are distinguished according to the needs of the business.

Co-Innovate Journeys provides support to SMEs, connects London-based SMEs with academic expertise and research practices at Brunel University London. This initiative provides the tools and support necessary to help your business innovate, differentiate and compete successfully in the market through collaborative projects with academics and students. The EU funding provides free tailored workshops for our beneficiaries, access to specialised research facilities and support in accessing innovation funding.

Co-Innovate Bridging the Gap (BtG) supports new start-ups /Entrepreneurs. This initiative supports London-based new start-ups to launch, scale and grow their innovative ventures. Co-Innovate BtG can help to drive a start-up forward through mentorship from experienced entrepreneurs and a flexible training programme to fast track an idea. It can also help with pitching opportunities to raise awareness and generate possible collaborative projects with students and academics to refine and enhance the idea.

Since 2012 Co-Innovate has been supporting London based SMEs by linking them to the incredible range of human, research and physical resources available within Brunel University London. The University and our team believe in the value of this partnership and its vast potential to go well beyond the direct economic benefits to the companies involved. It is through these different types of pioneering collaborations that our co-innovation and surrounding ecosystem is an exemplar of how universities and businesses should be working together to maximise benefits to the economy and to society as a whole. Established at the end of 2012 we are jointly funded by the University and the European Regional Development Fund, to support innovation within London-based Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). Over the programme, we have worked closely with over 260 companies, providing innovation support to 150 and more in-depth collaboration with 45.

Co-Innovate Journeys will take us to 2020, engaging 240 companies and setting up 120 collaborations.

Co-Innovate Bridging the Gap provides a support ecosystem to nurture entrepreneurs supporting 30 SMEs and 10 collaborations.

Our aim is to improve access and accelerate the transfer of knowledge and research expertise from Brunel University London to SMEs in London; introducing a dynamic range of activities to support new product and service development leading to business growth for the participating companies and economic and employment benefits for the region.

The project primarily targets London based SMEs who are currently not investing in innovation activities by building awareness and capacity to connect SMEs to the applied research expertise at the University.

“The new SME definition” published by the European Commission defines SMEs as follows:

‘The category of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) is made up of enterprises which employ fewer than 250 persons and which have an annual turnover not exceeding 50 million euro, and/or an annual balance sheet total not exceeding 43 million euro.’


Contact us if you are unsure whether you fit into the SME definition.

A single European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme for the 2014-2020 funding period has been set up to combine three separate European Funds. These are the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the European Social Fund (ESF) and part of the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD). The total European Regional Development Fund for the 2014-2020 funding period is €3.6bn. This sum must be supplemented by national public and private funds.

ERDF is a key funding instrument of EU cohesion policy which aims to promote economic, social and territorial cohesion. ERDF is specifically focussed on investment to support economic growth and job creation in order to reduce intra and inter regional economic disparities within the EU.

For more information, please visit the ERDF website.