One jump ahead
The LDA?s two-year JumpStart programme offers businesses the support they need to embrace innovation and make the leap into the big time. The initiative was launched in April 2004 in partnership with the European Regional Development Fund. With funds of £3.8m, JumpStart consists of three elements: Connect, Inspire and Engage.
The Connect strand of JumpStart provides funding for businesses to link up with universities and other research institutes, with the aim of developing an innovative idea. Ideally, Connect projects must have the potential to deliver a new or improved product, process or service and should demonstrate significant importance to the future commercial success of the business. The Connect grant consists of £10,000 available in match funding of up to 50% of the project. To date 80 projects have been funded; an additional £400,000 is still available to London?s SMEs by December 2005.
Any London-based SME over 12 months old can apply for more information, contact Emma Shelley at the LDA on 020 7954 4158 or e-mail:
The Inspire strand of JumpStart has funded six projects that aim to break down the unique barriers to innovation faced by London?s black and minority ethnic-owned businesses, including those owned by women and the disabled. These projects demonstrate that, through using an innovative approach, they can overcome the obstacles facing disadvantaged London communities.
|Black and minority ethnic businesses are increasingly demanding a slice of the action in London?s burgeoning food sector|
This guide offers an insight into some of the Inspire projects currently running. Other projects include the Access to Innovation for Disabled Entrepreneurs, a Greater London Action on Disability (GLAD)-led initiative and Business Edge ? building awareness and increasing the uptake of innovation in London?s ethnic hair and beauty salons.
For more information on Inspire visit www.london-innovation.org.uk
The Engage element of JumpStart is designed to extend and strengthen existing networks across London in order to create strong, vibrant and diverse networks that engage with greater numbers of SMEs. Three projects have been funded to strengthen and enhance both new and existing networks and to increase innovation performance and promote London as a hub of innovation activity.
For more information on Engage contact visit www.london-innovation.org.uk
Black and minority ethnic businesses are increasingly demanding a slice of the action in London?s burgeoning food sector. And an exciting initiative, Inspiring Innovation in London?s BME Food Sector, is offering them vital support.
The project runs monthly ?innovation taster? workshops on practical topics such as ingredients; packaging; labelling; waste management; marketing; scaling up; innovation finance; and creative design. Mentoring and ongoing business advice are also on the menu. Inspiring Innovation is run by oneLondon in partnership with the African Caribbean Business Network, the Caribbean Food Emporium, Southall Regeneration Partnership and Park Royal Partnership, and is funded by the LDA under the JumpStart programme.
The workshops are delivered by higher education institutions and specialists involved in London?s food sector including London South Bank University?s London Food Centre, Central St Martin?s, Greenwich University, London Metropolitan University and Kingston University. Jenny Tooth, project director of Inspiring Innovation, said: ?Lots of BME businesses are quite small and may be selling purely to their own communities. We want to open their eyes to their own creativity and help them make the step from their kitchen into larger-scale production.?
Recipes passed down from her Grenadian grandmother inspired Patricia Lewis to set up her fast-growing wholesale business, Sam?s Delight. Patricia spent a year on market research, tracking down two African Caribbean shops in Harlesden and Shepherd?s Bush which were willing to give her pastries a try, before finally taking the plunge and setting up her business in November 2002. For a year she worked from home, baking every day to keep up with the growing demand for her two products: a coconut tart and a calypso bun. When she could no longer keep up, she hired two staff and moved Sam?s Delight to a unit in a small business centre in Park Royal. She also took on a distributor to get her weekly batch of 3,000 trays of pastries out to her retailers.
Another big step forward came when Patricia?s business coach recommended she contact the oneLondon Inspiring Innovation in London?s BME Food Sector project (see above).The project supported Sam?s Delight at the International Food and Drink Expo (IFE) at Excel in March 2005. ?My medium-term aim is to export to Europe and back to the Caribbean? explained Patricia. ?Attending the exhibition gave me a lot of exposure. ? Patricia is also now applying for a Connect grant (see front page). If successful, she would team up with the London Food Centre to extend her range of products and help her sell to the larger retailers. ?We need to keep our authenticity but also appeal to a cross-section of the market, rather than being pigeonholed as an ethnic product,? she explained.
For more information, contact Sam?s Delight on 020 8537 9025.
LIWIC (London Inspires Women Innovators Connection) is an exciting initiative to encourage, motivate and inspire female entrepreneurs by helping them get their ideas to market. LIWIC?s particular focus is to support black and minority ethnic (BME) women innovators, but also serves as a one-stop referral shop for all London?s inventive women, whatever their ethnic origin.
Its virtual Women?s Innovation Centre offers a fl exible way for women to benchmark their skills and acquire new ones. It provides links to useful sources of information in fields such as intellectual property; access to finance; marketing; equity; and commercialisation. It also provides a forum where women can network and learn from each other. Membership is free. LIWIC is part-funded by the Inspire strand of the JumpStart programme and directed by the Global Women Inventors and Innovators Network (GWIIN).
To find out more, visit www.liwic.info.
Most women have experienced the annoyance of trying on a potential purchase or changing outfits and smudging their make-up. Lydia Montoute was so frustrated she came up with a simple solution ? a mask she could slip on to protect her face. After years of taking her homemade mask on shopping trips, to the gym and to work, the penny dropped. ?I suddenly realised that by hiding the mask away in my bag I was depriving other women of something really useful,? she explained. So she found herself patenting her invention, finding a manufacturer to make a prototype (in a disposable, hygienic and breathable fabric) and visiting Bond Street shops to discover if any were interested in stocking her product. ?The response was amazing ? frightening even.
The retailers and their customers all thought it was a brilliant idea.? Lydia set up her company, Kim Mask (Kim stands for Keep Immaculate Makeup), in 2004 and already dozens of boutiques have installed mask dispensers in their changing rooms.
TV and film companies, make-up artists and fashion show directors are also beginning to cotton on and Lydia plans to sell direct to consumers within the next two years. In January this year she discovered LIWIC (see below) and the JumpStart programme which, she says, have been invaluable to her business. ?I have been able to network with women who are a lot more experienced and I have learned a lot from them,? she says. In February she won a Special Recognition award at the Female Inventor of the Year awards.
She has also just received funding under the Connect strand of the JumpStart programme, which helps fund partnerships between small businesses and London?s knowledge centres, to work with the London College of Fashion on developing another product idea. ?Everyone there is very enthusiastic about it. It is really exciting,? she said. So, any advice for potential entrepreneurs? ?If I had thought about it I don?t think I would have done it. Sometimes it?s not good to think ? just do.?
For more information on Kim Mask, visit www.kimmask.com
A radical new project that will help minority-led businesses sell their cultural products, from music to movies and poetry, on the web Games, movies, music, poetry, news ? the digital download market has taken off in a big way recently and is predicted to enjoy a dramatic boom in the next five years. But there are many creative entrepreneurs out there who have great ideas for downloadable products, yet lack the technical know-how to reach their customers digitally. Collecting payment securely online; protecting intellectual property;
preventing fraud; account management ? all these issues must be mastered if the business is to succeed. Cultural Lifestyle Innovations, which will be led by CIDA (the Cultural Industries Development Agency) with funding from the Inspire strand of the LDA?s JumpStart programme, is a 12-month pilot project. Aimed at minority-led businesses, including BME, women and disabled people, the project will eventually create an online ?shopping mall? where firms can sell their products. Initially, 30 startups and SMEs will be chosen to take part.
They will be microbusinesses and SMEs from across London who have already built a reputation for their work and have achieved some recognition for their digital products including audio files, music, sound files, games, writing, electronic books, news and features, poetry and spoken word, digital iconography, pictorial representations, cartoons, pictures and photos, video clips and movies, and moving image-based products.
These firms will participate in a programme of knowledgetransfer workshops and five innovation and creativity workshops led by successful entrepreneurs from among the minority-led digital and newmedia business community. Having completed this initial training, 20 companies will be selected to go on to the next stage. They will be able to sell their products in a branded online marketplace and will feature in a catalogue of downloadable lifestyle digital products. The first marketing campaign will take place during Black History Month in October, when the creativity and history of black and ethnic minority groups is celebrated. The second will be during December, when there are high levels of consumer interest in digital downloads for seasonal greetings and gifts.
The 20 successful companies will also have access to a unique knowledgetransfer brokerage service with higher education institutions, enabling them to undertake research and product development. ?This is a fantastic opportunity for businesses that have developed their product but have yet to make the innovation leap,? explained Mhora Samuel, CEO of CIDA. ?The support they will get from Cultural Lifestyle Innovations will give them all the skills they need to succeed in the competitive digital world, plus an exciting new online marketplace.?
For more information on
Cultural Lifestyle Innovations contact:
Mhora Samuel at CIDA
on 020 7247 4710