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Enabling Innovation

Nottingham Trent University provides subsidised support to help SMEs in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire to grow and innovate, through the ERDF funded Enabling Innovation programme.

Since July 2016, the Enabling Innovation at NTU has supported over 500 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire.

The programme has helps businesses to introduce innovation through development of new products and designing new services. Enabling Innovation has utilised funds from the European Regional Development Fund, supporting SMEs to bring something new to their company or market place.

Businesses who enrol into the programme can access a range of support including:

  • Dedicated sector-specific technical hubs in food and drink, materials engineering, computing and data, and design innovation;
  • innovation management workshops delivered by Nottingham Business School;
  • academic and student-led projects and consultancy;
  • intensive specialist support for innovative businesses;
  • networking and business development workshops and events.

This support is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund

Discover how three local businesses have been positively impacted from their work in design whilst working with Nottingham Trent University.

Innovation Hubs

Our hubs consist of dedicated coordinators and innovation experts that provide SMEs expertise and services to support new ideas and innovation. Discover our hubs below to find out how Enabling Innovation can support your business.

  • Computer science innovation

    The Computer Science Innovation hub delivers expert workshops, academic knowledge, and collaborative projects with businesses in areas such as mobile development, big data, cloud computing, the Internet of things, systems analysis, sensing and smart technologies, networking and infrastructure security, and digital media.

    Computing and Data Innovation services include:

    • virtual, augmented and mixed reality
    • big data and analysis
    • digital security
    • cloud computing
    • Internet of things
    • software development
    • prototyping for a range of platforms.

    Clifton Campus, NTU

    Email: Jason Roper

    Tel: +44 115 84 83158

  • Food and drink innovation

    The Food and Drink hub runs a series of expert-led workshops specifically catering to the needs of the food and drink industry. Each of our hands-on sessions are designed to support your business to innovate in a professional environment.

    Our range of analytical and food processing facilities allow our team of food scientists to offer the following services:

    • shelf-life testing
    • compositional and nutritional analysis
    • sensory testing
    • product development innovation advice
    • guidance on labelling and the application of technologies
    • access to our development kitchen and biology and chemistry labs
    • product test runs in our pilot factory plant.

    Brackenhurst Campus, NTU

    Email: Adam Keenan

    Tel: +44 115 84 88655

  • Innovation Management and Leadership

    This Nottingham Business School programme, delivered through Enabling Innovation, is tailored towards small and growing businesses that want to innovate and progress. You can choose from our range of expert-led workshops, outreach activities and flexible delivery methods, all designed to fit around your needs. We can also provide you with mentoring and a dedicated innovation coordinator to help you find your way around the range of services on offer.

    Activities include:

    • An initial diagnostic to help us understand your business needs.
    • Mentoring from a range of experienced small business advisers to match your needs and help you meet your full innovation potential.

    We hold regular workshops covering key business themes, such as:

    • small business strategy
    • marketing
    • access to finance
    • managing and leading a team
    • alternative revenue streams.

    City Campus, NTU.

    Email: Helen Whitehall

    Tel: +44 (0)115 848 8904

  • Legal advice for innovation

    Delivers advice and other legal services for businesses, including social enterprises and charities, on a variety of commercial law issues. Areas of expertise range from intellectual property, employment and contractual terms and conditions to commercial dispute resolution and some commercial property law.

    The Centre’s services are provided by Nottingham Law School staff and students, with all work supervised by the Centre’s qualified lawyers. Workshops are also provided on a variety of legal topics to those looking to set up and develop their businesses and explore other means of delivering effective legal services to SMEs.

    The Legal Advice hub can offer legal advice and assistance on a range of business issues, including:

    • contractual terms and conditions
    • intellectual property
    • web policies
    • commercial property
    • company set-up and governance
    • data protection – GDPR
    • employment law
    • reasonable adjustments in the workplace.

    City Campus, NTU

    Email: Legal Advice Centre

    Tel: +44 115 848 4262

  • Materials and engineering innovation

    The Materials and Engineering Innovation hub delivers expert workshops and academic knowledge exchange projects. It will provide you and your business with expertise across multiple disciplines.

    Through Enabling Innovation, SMEs can access a broad base of knowledge and equipment, giving you access to industrial imaging, materials analysis and process automation.

    Materials and Engineering Innovation services include:

    • nuclear magnetic resonance
    • materials imaging and sensing
    • surface modification and analysis
    • computational materials physics and modelling
    • laser processing of materials
    • thin film deposition
    • materials and devices exploiting interfacial sciences
    • electrospinning.

    Clifton Campus, NTU

    Email: Thomas Sanders

    Tel: +4115 848 3944

  • Product design and process innovation

    The Design Innovation hub focuses on enabling technologies in collaborative projects around product design, architecture, the built environment, fashion, textiles, virtual reality, and art.

    Our programme offers access to emerging technologies such as additive manufacturing, allied with the complementary technologies of 3D CAD modelling, 3D visualisation, 3D scanning, reverse engineering, and computational modelling and analysis. We can also assist companies seeking to explore virtual and augmented reality technologies and integrate them into their business practices.

    Our expert-led team can provide your business to the following support:

    • academically guided projects
    • access to experienced design and process innovation advisers
    • state-of-the art equipment including laser cutters, CNC machines, 3D printers and 3D scanners
    • expert-led workshops and networking events
    • student-led consultancy work.

    City Campus, NTU

    Email: Siobhan Urquhart

    Tel: +44 (0)115 848 8655

  • Support for enterprise and innovation (The Hive)

    Based at the University’s City Campus, The Hive is Nottingham Trent University’s purpose-built centre for entrepreneurship and enterprise. We provide budding entrepreneurs with an inspiring environment and all the support they need to turn their ideas into financially viable and successful business ventures.

    Through our structured start-up and enterprise development programmes, mentoring and events, The Hive can help enterprising individuals and budding businesses seeking to exploit new business ideas.

    City Campus, NTU

    Email: The Hive

    Tel: +44 115 848 4354

  • Talent for innovation

    NTU's Employability team offers recruitment support to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). We perform a workforce analysis, and our consultancy includes support in attracting, selecting and keeping student and graduate talent.

    If you have recruited, we can support you with developing your talent’s capability to innovate. Our Innovation Community Lab (ICL) is a network of young professionals developed to support SMEs with enhancing their workforce.

    If you are a graduate recruiter, or are engaging with Employability for the first time, we can support you in developing innovative recruitment processes around the themes of attracting, selecting and keeping talent.

    Support includes:

    • best practice recruitment toolkit on attracting, selecting and keeping graduate talent
    • delivery of a graduate scheme to enhance an innovative workforce in SMEs.

    City Campus, NTU

    Email: Emmie Studencki
    Tel: 0115 848 2569

We are a fast growing company in a fast moving industry, and the Enabling Innovation experts helped us to uncover insights into our own team dynamics and ways of working. They gave us practical ways we could change our business that would give us real competitive advantage in terms of employee engagement and innovation.

Susan Hallam MBE, Managing Director of Hallam Internet


Healthier Options Takeaways for SMEs

Supporting food and drink businesses to introduce simple, easy to implement ideas that aim to meet HOT guidelines whilst maintaining the great taste and quality that your customers have come to expect.

The workshops will comprise a series of short sessions covering:

  • Fat reduction
  • Salt reduction
  • Sugar reduction
  • Portion control

Sign up to our regional events:

15 January 2019

Newark, Sherwood and Mansfield
21 January 2019

29 January 2019

5 February 2019

Find out more

Food analysis

Nutritional Analysis for SMEs

Nottingham Trent University is providing businesses with access to a bespoke package of Nutritional Analysis. Our broad range of services can assist your organisation to add further value to your products, identify and control ingredient quality and help you communicate your products using industry recognised Traffic light systems.


  • Portion size control
  • Traffic light system labelling
  • Nutritional break-down with NutriCalc

Find out more

Who is eligible?

Most small and medium organisations in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire are eligible for support.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are defined as:

  • less than 250 employees
    • annual turnover under EUR 50 million or;
    • annual balance sheet less than EUR 43 million

Companies must be based in the D2N2 area to qualify for support. D2N2 is the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) for Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire.

If you are unsure whether or not you qualify for support, please contact us.

Contact our team

Enabling Innovation support is available to businesses until March 2019.

If you are interested in accessing these services or would like to know more, contact our team by email or by calling +44 (0)115 848 8899.

Further information

We have secured funding from the European Regional Development Fund which means that most services provided as part of the Enabling Innovation programme are of no cost to eligible businesses.

Enabling Innovation is one of many projects which D2N2 has supported with European funding. Further details of these projects and much more, can be found on the D2N2 Growth Hub site, please click here.

Privacy and data retention

Nottingham Trent University and Enabling Innovation privacy notice

Still need help?

Business and Employers
+44 (0)115 848 8899