SMEs in Scotland engaging with Universities

84% of SMEs in Scotland are engaging with higher education institutions, according to Universities UK.

View the full report – Driving Economic Growth

Universities play an important role in providing support to businesses through research and training. This is demonstrated by the breadth and range of industries with links to universities and the variety of activities with which they are involved, including extensive support for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).


Santander launches ‘Breakthrough’ funding pot for SMEs

Santander UK today launched its new funding programme for fast growing companies.

A loan pot of £200m is being made available across the UK as part of the Breakthrough initiative, which is aimed at supporting the SME market through a range of activities including investing in SMEs, together with a number of other initiatives including University courses, research and development and trade missions.

GCU is a member of the prestigious international Santander Universities network, which brings together almost 1,000 universities, throughout Spain, Portugal, Latin America and the UK. This strategic partnership between the University and Santander has created a range of opportunities for both staff and students to participate in a range of activities and to encourage exchange and interaction between members of GCU and other member universities of the Santander Universities network. Each year Santander sponsors one of the University’s annual Magnusson Awards, which provide a one off grant of up to £5,000.

For more information, contact the Applied Knowledge Exchange on 0141 331 3189 or


SFC issues new £4m call for Horizon Fund proposals

The Scottish Funding Council has issued a new call for proposals to its Horizon Fund for knowledge exchange proposals addressing the needs of Scottish industry.

Resources available for projects in the latest call will be approximately £4m per annum for saltirethree years.

This year the call will focus on the key sectors identified in the Scottish Government’s Economic Strategy, including the creative industries (including digital content and technologies); energy; financial and business services; food and drink (including agriculture and fisheries);  life sciences (including biotechnology and translational medicine); and tourism.

The SFC is keen to receive proposals for projects that involve Scottish small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs).

Proposals are to be submitted by Universities by 17th September 2010.

Glasgow Caledonian University has also benefited from this year’s Scottish Funding Council’s Innovation Voucher Scheme, which aids first links between Scottish universities and SMEs. This year, GCU received funding for six proposals, worth over £48,500.

The scheme, administered by Interface, provides funding of up to £5,000 to universities for projects with Scottish SMEs. SMEs contribute a matching value of cash, staff time or access to facilities. The funding can be used for a broad range of collaborative activities including developing new products and services, improved production processes or experimental testing and measuring.

For more information on how your business could work with Glasgow Caledonian University, contact the Applied Knowledge Exchange on 0141 331 3189 or visit

SMEs offered grants from Technology Transfer Opportunity Mechanism

Technology Transfer Opportunity Mechanism (TTOM) Awards have been set up to enable Scottish SMEs to transfer technology from Scotland’s Universities, and are now open for applications. The closing date is 27th August.

Grants of up to £5000 are available to tackle problems relevant to the SME, paid at a maximum rate of 75%, with the remaining 25% being cash or in-kind contributions from the client company.

Support in finding appropriate academic expertise can be provided by Interface.

TTOM encompasses emerging technologies in sectors such as Energy, Life Science, Digital Media, Enabling Technologies (including optoelectronics, electronics, microelectronics and software) and Sustainable Transport.

For more information, contact the Applied Knowledge Exchange, or vist the TTOM website.

GCU’s Caledonian Environment Centre at SETN event

This year’s Scottish Environmental Technology Network (SETN) annual conference will be held at Glasgow Caledonian University on 15th June 2010.    cec

The environmental technology conference is this year a collaboration between SETN and the Caledonian Environment Centre at Glasgow Caledonian University.

Caledonian Environment Centre will be supported by GCU’s business gateway, the Applied Knowledge Exchange.

Funded by the SEEKIT programme of the Scottish Government, the event is free for SMEs to attend and will inform businesses about developments in the Scottish environmental technology sector, EU environmental legislation and R&D tax credit workshops.

SETN provides services to Scottish SMEs to improve their competitiveness in the environmental sector including areas such as contaminated land assessment & remediation, waste management, resource recovery, water and wastewater treatment, sustainable urban drainage systems and environmental management.

The Caledonian Environment Centre offers a dedicated team of professionals with expertise in waste resource management, carbon management, environmental sustainability and bioenergy.

Simon Glen, project officer at the Caledonian Environment Centre at GCU, will be speaking at the event, along with representatives from Zero Waste Scotland, EAE Ltd and Environmental Law Chambers.

SETN is led by the Contaminated Land Assessment & Remediation Research Centre based at The University of Edinburgh and works with research base groups from around Scotland.

Innovation Voucher partnerships underway with SMEs

The Scottish Funding Council made an award of funding to Glasgow Caledonian University to directly support collaboration between Scottish small and medium sized enterprises and higher education institutions.

The Innovation Voucher Scheme is supported by the new SFC funding stream Strategic Priority Investments in Research and Innovation Translation (SPIRIT) and offers each higher education institution funding to meet up to 50% of the costs of one or more new collaborations with Scottish SMEs.

Glasgow Caledonian University is working on projects with Oak Tree Inn, Q&Q Foods, William Latto & Son and Cordale Housing through Caledonian Business School and the School of the Built and Natural Environment.

To find out more about Innovation Vouchers or business development funding, call 0141 331 3189.

SMEs vital to Scottish economy

SMEs play a vital role in driving the Scottish economy and “yet they do not always received the recognition they deserve for their extraordinary achievements”.

These were the views emphasised by Alasdair Northrop, Editor of Scottish Business Insider, at the SME 300 Awards 2009 event in Glasgow.

According to Scottish Government research, SMEs account for 99.2% of enterprises here and they employ around 52.8% of the population.

Overall the SME 300 companies saw a 0.3% fall in profits reflecting the beginning of the recession. However, that compared to a 2.2% fall in Insider’s Top 500 companies listing, which seems to indicate that SMEs are more resilient in this climate.

Insider, in association with accountancy firm Scott-Moncrieff, set up the awards three years ago to mark the achievements of SMEs in a number of areas including leadership, innovation and focus.

Cormac Bryce, PhD Researcher in the Division of Accounting, Finance & Risk at  the Caledonian Business School, conducted in-depth research for the SME 300 Awards 2009.

Cormac’s research was then put to the panel of judges led by Gio Benedetti. The other judges were Vivien Kyles, Chief Executive of Hamilton Park Racecourse; Audrey Corfield, Head of Office for Glasgow at Marsh; founder of Braveheart Geoffrey Thomson; and Chartered Accountant Nelson Gray.