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16 August 2023 |

Highlands & Islands Awards Partner Blog: Highlands and Islands Enterprise

Innovation has always been a key driver of business growth in the Highlands and Islands and that’s why we’re delighted to be supporting the Innovation category at the SCDI awards this year. I’m looking forward to seeing some great examples of innovation projects highlighted in this category.

Innovation is something that every business can be part of. Some of the best innovations can come from small useability changes to existing products, new ways to deliver services to customers or improving internal processes. Whilst these changes may appear relatively small, the overall impact they can have can be huge. We’ll be looking for innovation in the development of products or services, within a culture of inclusion and openness which inspires employees to contribute towards business improvement, ideas and overall employee wellbeing.

Ideally, entrants will be able to demonstrate innovation which plays a significant role in reducing the environmental impact of the business whilst delivering prosperity for people and place. Research tells us that innovative companies grow faster and more profitably than others. When you innovate, you are adapting your business to the changing needs of markets and consumers. This keeps you one step ahead of the competition and makes the business more likely to succeed. Our innovation team at HIE can work with organisations to identify areas of operation where innovation can help them stay ahead of competition, improve productivity or help reach new customers. It’s also a bonus when these organisations get shortlisted or win awards. We know that supporting SMEs to bring innovation into their business will benefit the whole economy long-term so we’re here to help and can offer funding, advice and support and knowledge exchange.

Our advice and support is aimed at supporting all aspects of innovation and R & D which includes guidance on innovation project development and strategy, protecting intellectual assets, improving existing processes and helping to creating new products. Our knowledge exchange programme offers access to learning journeys, masterclasses, and a programme of new product development and finally we offer funding through our Research and Innovation grant as well as supporting applications to national innovation funding programmes.

More information on what we do and how you can get in touch can be found at: https://www.hie.co.uk/innovation

John Mackenzie, Senior Innovation Manager at Highlands and Islands Enterprise