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Global innovation: what support is available

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Global innovation: what support is available

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Guidance on what help you can get from Innovate UK to innovate and grow your business overseas.


Innovate UK can support you to grow and scale your business globally, helping you access knowledge, develop new partnerships and explore international innovation opportunities.

Through the international programmes that we offer, we can help you:

  • build your knowledge about other countries through the insight we provide
  • build relationships with businesses, research organisations, investors and governments in other countries
  • collaborate with international partners and innovate together
  • explore innovation opportunities and future market potential. These programmes are open to businesses and other organisation based in the UK.

Explore opportunities to engage internationally by building your knowledge

Through our Global Expert Missions, we gather and disseminate knowledge and insight about innovation opportunities in specific technologies and sectors in other countries. Delivered by the KTN on our behalf, the detailed reports published provide a rich source of insight and highlight specific opportunities.

Build your international innovation relationships and explore future market opportunities

Through our Global Business Innovation Programmes, we help high-growth innovative UK businesses explore and exploit the collaboration, growth and innovation opportunities offered through working globally.

Understanding the needs of a different market and building collaborations and partnerships can be a barrier to businesses expanding globally.

This programme helps businesses to familiarise themselves with and build partnerships and connections in their target country to maximise their chances of success.

It does this by providing a programme of support to help businesses to meet their specific business goals as they scale up. Each Global Business Innovation Programme lasts 9-12 months and supports cohorts of 15 businesses through 3 phases:

  • prepare for the market - helping businesses understand and get ready for the market
  • visit the market – usually a week-long visit to a country to gain first-hand experience and to build, strengthen and exploit connections with peers, investors, government and the research community
  • exploit the opportunity - including ongoing support from and Innovate UK Innovation and Growth Specialist.

Global Business Innovation Programmes are run on a competitive basis and previous programmes have targeted countries such as the USA, Canada, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, China and countries across Europe.

Gain a deep understanding of future market opportunities

Our Global Incubator Programme is an acceleration programme for cohorts of 6-8 innovative high-growth and scaling businesses to spend time in world-leading incubators abroad.

Our structured programme uses an intensive four-stage method to tackle the challenges that most companies face when entering global markets. Small and medium-sized enterprises can explore the potential of specific overseas markets and access world-class mentors and tailored workspaces.

The programme operates in four countries: the USA, Canada, Singapore and India.

This programme is delivered by Innovate UK EDGE.

Other Innovate UK EDGE support to help you enter new markets

Innovate UK EDGE is a key part of the UK innovation agency’s investment in the innovative businesses that drive economic growth. It complements Innovate UK project funding with intensive, specialist-led support for such ambitious businesses.

Each high-potential, innovative business in our portfolio benefits from the objective perspective of a dedicated innovation and growth specialist local to them. Our specialist considers a business in the round and, working closely with its leadership, identifies the most productive ways to accelerate its growth.

Innovate UK EDGE brings a range of services to help ambitious, innovative SMEs (small to medium-sized enterprises) grow and scale. We help businesses:

  • exploit innovation, intellectual property, and connections in the UK and abroad
  • enter new markets at home and abroad
  • access funding and finance and getting investment ready.

Innovate UK EDGE Innovation and Growth Specialists can help you source and establish connections with new collaborators and business partners in over 65 countries through our involvement in the Enterprise Europe Network, including through our partnerships tool providing global partnering opportunities.

There are also a range of focused brokerage events to help you find new international business opportunities and the key information you need on markets and sectors.

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