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Help for SMEs

Brunel University London is known for its higher education teaching and engineering research but it also has a range of services to help UK SMEs grow. Our platforms are available for a variety of different clients from those looking to start a business to those who simply want to bring more innovation to their small firm. 

Why choose a university to help an SME grow? 

Traditionally, SMEs have opted to use consultancy firms to offer professional advice on how to run their company more effectively and bring new innovative products into the market. Although this can have huge benefits, working with a university can be more cost-effective as some of our schemes are subsidised by the government and we have a high success rate with securing small business grants, which substantially reduces the cost of long-term growth. 

What areas can Brunel University London help with  

  • Help with new product development. From research and design all the way to property protection and patent filings
  • Organising free workshops to help with specific areas such as marketing, social media or finance 
  • Help young entrepreneurs with their business ideas
  • Help secure government and EU business grants to ensure you have a suitable amount of funding to achieve your goals
  • Connecting with one of our academic experts to examine areas of improvement that can help you become more efficient, analyse how to increase sales or expand to different markets

We realise that SMEs have different business goals so we make sure we help you select the correct service that is best suited to your business needs. 

What schemes are available for SMEs

Brunel HIVE

Brunel Hive is the business engagement resource at Brunel Business School, and delivers Brunel’s mission of ‘Engaged Scholarship’ through its SME and industry partnerships, research collaborations and commercialisation, and active executive learning programmes. Brunel Hive brings together the key resources which entrepreneurs, managers and their stakeholders need to create and grow their businesses. We connect like-minded industry leaders as our Entrepreneur in Residence, creating a community that explores and learns together as they develop solutions that help their businesses survive, innovate and thrive beyond these difficult economic times.

Our business and stakeholder engagement team is passionate about supporting local businesses, helping SMEs cope with the challenges of the current pandemic by delivering initiatives such as the national Help to Grow Programme and Build Back Better, which offers entrepreneurs the opportunity to learn and reflect on their business practices among their peers. We also believe in ‘engaged scholarship’ and work closely with industry partners to design research collaborations and active corporate learning programmes; to date, over 1,000 local and international businesses and learners have participated in our Brunel for Business Masterclasses, delivered in partnership with 40 businesses.

Participate in the Brunel Go-for-Growth programme. Join Brunel as an Entrepreneur or Executive in Residence. Experience exponential growth through the Digital Transformation Management programme. Support our Business Growth Fund. With our Executives in Residence coming from corporations such as Tata Consultancy, Oracle, Google, Go Daddy, Goldman Sachs, Ogilvy and Ford, we are well-placed to help you drive your mission.

Find out more information as well as ways to engage with Brunel HIVE.


This is a newly funded EU initiative that has been launched to help SMEs become more competitive. It provides free workshops, led by industry experts, in areas such as finance, marketing, online advertising and social media. It also offers more in-depth support from highly trained academic staff at Brunel to offer their expertise that can help grow your new start-up. 

Brompton Bicycle, a bicycle manufacturer, worked with the Co-Innovate team to explore new bike parts and accessories to improve the design of their flagship 'folding bikes' to make them more unique and useful for their customers, increasing sales in the long term. You can read how Co-innovate helped Brompton Bicycle and many other SME's from a wide range of sectors in the publication by clicking this link. 

You can be involved in Co-Innovate if you are a London based SME. 

Impacting Business by Design

Impacting Business by Design is a new design support programme that aims to accelerate and de-risk the innovation activities of start-ups, scale-ups, and SMEs by helping them harness the potential of design to increase product innovation success. Businesses seeking support will be able to work directly with the professional design and development teams based within each of the three partner universities delivering this Research England funded programme: Brunel, De Montfort and Nottingham Trent. 

Read more about this programme and the support available

Innovation Voucher Scheme 

This is a popular small business grant worth between £1,000 and £5,000 to help you develop new products, processes or services with Brunel that will benefit your company. If you are a new start-up or a more established SME looking to innovate and expand this is a perfect fit for your goals. If you would like to ask us a question about the scheme or submit a proposal please visit our Innovation Voucher Scheme page.

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships 

You may have a new business idea for a product or service or would like to change a specific aspect of your company but unfortunately you don't have the expertise in-house. This service can help you make the link with Brunel to access our knowledge and transfer it to your business. We have a range of experts in engineering, finance, digital technology, cyber security, marketing and many more that have the skill set to increase sales and transform your firm. 

This is becoming extremely popular with SMEs, read more about this scheme and its benefits. 

Talent Recruitment 

Small and medium businesses are founded by leaders but only grow by hiring creative minds. There are so many avenues to recruit employees from job boards to social media platforms such as LinkedIn but they can be quite costly services for SMEs, especially if you are trying to find a certain skill set from an applicant. 

At Brunel, we have a dedicated team of recruiters who are always happy to meet with businesses to help them find a certain type of individual. We can help you recruit for part time and full time roles, placement students, internships and voluntary opportunities. The best feature is that we don't have an advertising fee for any job roles! Read more about the different ways you can employ our students. 

Impact Acceleration Account 

This initiative looks to accelerate research in digital, transport, energy, sustainability and automotive sectors. The key idea behind the ESPRC funded IAA (Impact Acceleration Account)  is to help the most pioneering scientists and engineers create successful businesses from their research, improve industrial collaboration and foster greater entrepreneurship. This scheme is mainly for Brunel academics that are looking to create and collaborate with businessses through their research. 

Research, Innovate and Emerge (RIEm)

Our trade mark protected initiative,  Research, Innovate and Emerge (RIEm), is designed to support SMEs to access innovation funding for collaborative research and innovation (R&I), validate a technology or solution and grow your business. Since its launch  in 2022, we have supported 48 UK SMEs. Some of them  have already secured innovation funding.  We have launched RIEm India in 2023. Read more about this scheme and its benefits.


We have a number of regular events for SMEs. Events in the past have included marketing and PR masterclasses, tutorials on how to access small business grants and other workshops which focus on different areas for growing an SME.  

Stay updated

We have a business e-newsletter that is extremely popular with both our SME and large industry partners. If you would like to keep up to date with all the latest business news, events and SME initiatives being launched at Brunel then simply register your details with us.  


Do I have to be a registered company?

If you would like to take part in any of our schemes we would prefer if you were a registered company. However, we are happy to speak with entrepreneurs as long as you give us enough information about what you want to achieve from working with us. 

Do I have to be based in London?

If you would like to be involved in our Co-Innovate project you must be based in London. For all of our other schemes you can be based anywhere in the UK or internationally. 

Where can I find out about the other services Brunel offers to businesses?

If you would like to know about all the services we offer to both large and small businesses please view our business web pages 

I would like to work with the university in way that has not been mentioned, where can I make an enquiry?  

If you would like to engage with Brunel University London in a way that has not been mentioned already please let us know through our online enquiry portal