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UK SMBs think innovation is important for recovery from Covid-19

(Image credit: Image Credit: thinkpublic / Flickr)

If small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are to survive the Covid-19 pandemic, they will need to innovate, according to a new report from R&D and IP specialists GovGrant.

Polling more than 500 UK SMB decision makers, the firm found that 85 percent acknowledged the importance of innovation, but only a quarter (26 percent) feel current operations are highly innovative.

Asked who is to blame for the current state of affairs, many pointed the finger at the government, with just 15 percent claiming the government is creating an economic environment in which innovation is encouraged.

“Despite the Government’s R&D Roadmap outlining its commitment to R&D and innovation, our research shows the need for further support when it comes to recognizing innovative activity,” said Luke Hamm, CEO at GovGrant.

“SMBs urgently need clarity and a common definition of innovation that transcends sectors, geography and generations if we’re going to plug the gap between the support that’s available and how SMBs make use of it. This is particularly true when it comes to IP.”

The report, however, concludes that variance in the understanding of innovation could be causing a problem.

According to GovGrant, four in ten (42 percent) SMBs see innovation as “tiny and continual” changes, while the rest see it as something that happens rarely but has a considerable impact.

“This disconnect may well be the reason that many SMBs are failing to claim valuable tax credits for their R&D, with nearly a quarter stating they had never done so,” the report concludes.