§ 57. Mr. Kirkhope
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what support is being made available to small businesses under the enterprise initiative to encourage innovation in new technology.
§ Mr. Butcher
Small firms can participate in collaborative research, with other firms, higher education institutions, technology organisations, or Government research establishments. The Department offers grants of up to 50 per cent. of the cost. The teaching company scheme is also available.
Firms with fewer than 200 employees can compete for 100 Awards in the small firms merit award for research and technology (SMART) competition. The awards are for 75 per cent. of the cost of developing a new product or process (up to total costs of £50,000). Applications close on 30 June 1988.
In development areas, firms with fewer than 25 employees can apply for regional enterprise grants. The innovation grant provides 50 per cent. of the agreed project cost up to a maximum grant of £25,000. I will arrange to send my hon. Friend details of these schemes.