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Innovation support, funding and resources

On this page: Things to do nowBusiness innovation supportProgrammes running nowTestimonialsLatest insightKey resources • Innovation FAQs

Innovation isn’t just relevant to your business, it’s vital. Whatever their size, businesses that embrace innovation are more likely to experience improved turnover, productivity and competitiveness.

Join more than 3,000 SMEs in Greater Manchester that have already benefitted from our specialist innovation support and find a clear pathway to new commercial opportunities.

Our mission is to help your business to overcome its challenges, think differently, and accelerate the time it takes to bring new products or services to market. Most of our services are available at no cost to businesses, thanks to the backing of our funders.

To access this expert support, funding and resources, email and connect with your local GM Business Growth Hub innovation specialist.


Three quick innovation actions you can take right now

Sign up to the Innovation Grapevine.

Sign up here

Come and join our fully-funded expert panel session to learn how to unlock the power of AI.

Book your place here

See what funding’s available for innovation.

Find out more

What business innovation support is available?

If an SME isn’t open to change, it risks stagnating and eventually losing business to its competitors. We’ll be the catalyst that transforms your company, helping it to:

Email or phone us on 0161 359 3050, or find out more about our three strands of specialist innovation support below:

Business Innovation Business Innovation

For SMEs that want to develop and progress innovation oportunities, creating a route-to-market plan.

Find out more
Digital Innovation Digital Innovation

For SMEs with the ambition, capacity and drive to transform the way they work using digital technology.

Find out more
Green Innovation Green Innovation

For SMEs that want to launch green products, improve the eco performance of their existing offer.

Find out more
Contact the Innovation team

Programmes running now


Finance, Opportunities, Responsibility & the Circular Economy
A new ‘green innovation’ programme for SMEs in Greater Manchester

Find out more


Many of the businesses we work with didn’t know where to begin, but made the transformative decision to seek help. Contact the innovation team at to start your innovation journey.

Read more: Innovation in business examples

Innovation insight

Latest blogs, funding opportunities and tips for your business

Find out more

Innovation FAQs

Why is innovation important? 

If your SME (small and medium sized enterprise) doesn’t embrace innovation, it risks stagnating and eventually losing business to its competitors.  

It doesn’t matter what size they are, or what industry or service they work in, the message is the same: businesses that embrace innovation are more likely to experience improved turnover, productivity, and competitiveness than those that don’t. 

What is innovation? 

Innovation is about turning an idea into reality. That idea may be ‘new’ to the world, or it may simply be new to your business. It could be the latest ground-breaking design, or a relatively minor, but impactful, change to an internal process… and most things in between. ‘Doing things differently’ is a way of thinking that can be applied to every area of your business operation.  

Get inspired by some of Greater Manchester’s innovative businesses 

What is an innovation eco-system?

An innovation eco-system is an interconnected mix of businesses, universities and other research bodies, and public sector organisations working both collaboratively and competitively, in a particular geographical space – sharing knowledge, cooperating to address challenges, and creating new commercial opportunities.

Greater Manchester’s innovation eco-system is home to major universities and other R&D bodies, clusters of progressive SMEs, major global businesses, and a great many highly skilled people. Our universities have a strong track record of working with industry to share knowledge and develop commercial products. Their support can help your idea to gain momentum, accelerate R&D, shorten your time to market, and clarify the impact of future technological change.

What are the main barriers to innovation? 

These are some of the common blockages to getting new ideas moving. 

  • A stale workplace culture. 
  • Little time and resources devoted to research and development (R&D) 
  • Not having the right knowledge, skills, or facilities 
  • Lacking a robust commercial plan 
  • Lnsufficient funding  

Many SMEs have lots of innovative ideas, but often don’t know how to filter them, focus on the best ones and, in the case of a new product or service, create a viable business case and a clear plan towards commercialisation.  

The good news is that Greater Manchester is home to a vibrant and world class innovation eco-system that can support you and your business. Our innovation team has helped more than 3,000 businesses in Greater Manchester and can help you navigate your innovation journey. Contact us today 

See also: Unleashing Your Innovation: A guide to accelerating product development 

How is innovation measured? 

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to measuring innovation. Some businesses find that tangible measures work, such as: R&D spend (the higher the spend, the more innovative the company is being), R&D tax credits (which reward spending on innovation), intellectual property created (patents filed, registered designs), and new products/services launched. Others focus on the value of their human capital and how creative their workforce is.  

Innovation is unique to you and your business, and the journey to getting new ideas moving is not a linear one.  Our approach starts with an ‘Innovation Canvas’ - a tool to help businesses understand where they are on this journey and give them a realistic innovation strategy that has a measurable beginning, middle and end. 

What are the eligibility requirements to receiving support from GC Business Growth Hub? 

GC Business Growth Hub works with local, national and European partners, so that wherever possible we’re able to offer support that is fully-funded and can be provided at no direct cost to your business. 

Being publicly-funded, this support is subject to State Aid rules and the associated eligibility criteria: 

  • Greater Manchester clients only
  • SME: Small or medium enterprise i.e. less than 250 (full-time equivalent) employees
  • Annual turnover less than 50 million euros or balance sheet less than 43 million euros

How long does the process take? 

It takes five-minutes to enquire about our services online: Enquire and Grow 

We’ll start by asking about your business and your innovation aspirations before planning your journey towards sustainable business growth. We are proud to have worked with many SMEs – such as GJD Manufacturing and The Insights Family – for several years, providing wide-reaching support to help with their innovation challenges and beyond. 

How can I stay up to date with the latest innovation practices? 

Make sure you sign up to receive our Innovation Grapevine newsletter, which will give you all the latest funding opportunities, insight, news and dates for your diary.  You can sign up here.

And keep a close eye on our Innovation Blogs section, which contains the latest insight and funding opportunities.  

And here are some social media handles to follow: 

Twitter: @BizGrowthHub @CMDigitalNW @YvonneGrady00 

LinkedIn: @gcbusinessgrowthhub @cmsocialmediauk @dharmanurse @stephaniestafford @stephenslate @yvonnegrady