News and information for local businesses - 17 September 2020

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Plymouth business news

17 September 2020

Please find below an overview of the latest business news and guidance. In today's newsletter you will find news and updates on:

  • 400th anniversary of Mayflower sailing commemorated in Plymouth
  • Bounce-back plans launched for consumer and retail industry
  • Opening Fab Lab Plymouth to communities
  • Help with restructuring or growing your business
  • Crowdfunding for Climate Change
  • Techstars Startup Weekend Online Plymouth
  • Plymouth Energy Community
  • The UK’s new look digitalisation platform launches
  • Digital Product Lead vacancy at RIO
  • Unlocking Disability for Employers
  • Women in Innovation Awards 2020/21 are now open!
  • New dates of the most popular Bounce Back Digital workshops added!
  • Virtual events and webinars
  • Funding streams

If you have any specific concerns or are in need of support, please contact us.

Mayflower Autonomous Ship

Yesterday, Wednesday 16 September, marked 400 years since the sailing of the Mayflower in 1620. The four nation Mayflower 400 programme marked the day in Plymouth with a naming ceremony for a new vessel, the Mayflower Autonomous Ship (MAS).

Following two years of design, construction and training of its AI models, the new fully-autonomous trimaran was lifted into the waters off the coast of Plymouth, England.

The ship launch is a key future-facing moment in Plymouth's Mayflower 400 anniversary programme, the 400 year commemoration of the voyage of The Mayflower. It represents the strength of Plymouth’s marine sector, an engine of growth and regeneration for the city.

Find out more here

Bounce-back plans launched for consumer and retail industry

Exports Minister, Graham Stuart MP, has announced a series of new measures to support businesses in the consumer and retail industry to export overseas as part of efforts to help the sector recover from Coronavirus.

The new measures will offer immediate support to businesses by ensuring specialists provide advice on online retail and international market-places. Additionally, the launch of a new Consumer and Retail Export Academy will provide businesses with the critical knowledge, skills and networks needed to increase exports. The plan will also outline long-term support for the sector as new export opportunities arise from trade deals being negotiated with the US, Japan, New Zealand and Australia.

Find out more here

Opening Fab Lab Plymouth to communities

Smart Citizens is opening Fab Lab Plymouth to communities. The programme offers workshops to design and make almost anything, tech & sustainability talks, community meet-ups, and training in digital design and fabrication.

Sign-up to their newsletter to receive updates about exciting activities, free courses and training open to all!

See the list of upcoming events/webinars in the events section below.

Sign up here

Help with restructuring or growing your business

The Government has committed funding with Innovate UK to enable businesses to develop and grow through Management Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (MKTPs). 
This could be of interest if you are looking to restructure or develop business activities or practices.

An MKTP lasts between 12 and 36 months and is available to the majority of UK business sectors and sizes.  Innovate UK will support the project by funding 67% if you are classified as a small-to-medium-sized business (SME). 

If you would like to know more, please contact Dave Marshall – Innovation Funding Manager, University of Plymouth,, 07970 645962.

Find out more here

Crowdfunding for Climate Change

Projects that could help Plymouth play its part in tackling climate change are being asked to pitch for £15,000 in prize funding at an exciting one-off event.

The Council is keen to hear about projects which bring environmental benefits to the city and to build on the work already happening through its climate change action plan.

If you’re a group, business or organisation with a cracking idea to help address climate change, the Council wants to hear from you. It could be a plan to tackle waste, improve a green or blue space, a grow-your-own project or something to do with sustainable energy.

To enter the competition please click here 

Find out more here 

Techstars Startup Weekend Online Plymouth

Do you have an idea for a new product, service or experience that you're looking to take to the next level? Do you want to learn how to start a business? Plymouth Startup Weekend is back with a twist! Taking place from 13 to 15 November 2020.

Led by the University of Plymouth and part of the Techstars Startup Weekend movement, it is the place to meet like-minded individuals and be immersed in a weekend of creativity and collaboration ONLINE. 

Anyone can register by Thursday 12 November here, and it is completely free!

Find out more here

Plymouth Energy Community

Plymouth Energy Community is a charity and social enterprise, with a cooperative ethos.

We are empowering our community to create a fair, affordable, zero carbon energy system with local people at its heart. We would like to help businesses install solar panels, meaning your organisation can generate clean energy, reduce bills, and tackle fuel poverty, at no cost.

Find out more here

The UK’s new look digitalisation platform launches

Made Smarter is helping to turn the UK into a world leader in digital tools and technologies and the new site will provide resources and support to the UK’s response to Industry 4.0. You will see an improved user experience and access to some of the latest commentary to support with digitalisation.

The new platform demonstrates how the UK is responding to the recommendations of the Made Smarter Review to increase:

  • Technology adoption
  • Digital skills
  • Technology innovations
  • Technology leadership

Find out more here

Digital Product Lead vacancy at RIO

Do you have a track record of delivering and managing customer-centric approaches to digital product development? Can you translate the needs and priorities of our strategic and operational teams, along with those of our customers, and use that insight to drive our platform forward? Are you an experienced digital product manager with enterprise skills and an agile background? If so, then you could be just what we’re looking for.  

Find out more and apply here

Unlocking Disability for Employers

The Be Ready Employer Hub is a new Employer Support Service for Devon-based employers. It is designed to help all sizes of businesses (existing and new start-ups), charities, social enterprises and public sector organisations understand the benefits of recruiting and retaining people with disabilities or long-term health conditions.

Online workshops are free and available to book.

Find out more in the Be Ready Service Outline [PDF] or on the website

Women in Innovation Awards 2020/21 are now open!

Innovate UK is offering 10 Women in Innovation Awards to female entrepreneurs across the UK. The winners will receive a £50,000 grant and a bespoke package of mentoring, coaching and business support.

The aim of this competition is to find women with exciting, innovative ideas and ambitious plans that will inspire others. The awards are for female founders, co-founders or senior decision makers working in businesses that have been operating for at least one year.

Closes 14 October 2020 11am

To find out more about the Awards, click here.

New dates of the most popular Bounce Back Digital workshops added!

During June and July the Heart of the South West Digital Skills Partnership commissioned a range of experienced digital Training Providers to deliver Bounce Back Digital; a series of free, online webinars, short courses and cyber support buddy sessions for small businesses to adapt to new ways of working in light of Covid-19. We’re pleased to be able to continue this support for small businesses in the region and have released a final wave of our most popular workshops that will run through September and October 2020.

Through working in partnership with the Growth Hub and getting feedback from the local business community, Bounce Back Digital has been designed to meet five key knowledge gaps cited by micro and small businesses:

  • How to set up an e-commerce website
  • Moving to cashless payments and digital bookkeeping
  • Using online productivity tools
  • Using digital marketing tools
  • Being cybersecurity confident

Find out more here

Virtual events and webinars

For further information on the latest virtual events, or to upload and promote yours, visit Invest Plymouth's event page.

You can also submit your own virtual events


Bounce Back Digital

Heart of the South West LEP |  21, 25, 30 September and 19 October

Bounce Back Digital; a series of free, online webinars, short courses and cyber support buddy sessions for small businesses to adapt to new ways of working in light of Covid-19. 

Find out more here


Smart Citizens Webinar 

Smart Citizens | Tuesday 22 September, 6pm

Join us online to find out more about Smart Citizens and how we can help you design and make almost anything using digital design and fabrication.

Find out more here


Advanced Technologies in the field of Marine Biology from the Marine Biological Association

Oceansgate / Marine Biological Association | Wednesday 23 September, 11am

Oceansgate, in partnership with Maritime UK South West and other local partners, have organised a programme of webinars to showcase exactly what our thriving marine sector has to offer.

Find out more here


Allergen Awareness Webinars for Businesses

Better Business For All | 28, 29 September and 5 October

Do you run a food or catering business in Devon, Somerset, Torbay or Plymouth? Learn how to control allergens in the food you serve at a free webinar with Environmental Health and Trading Standards Officers.

The webinar will cover:

  • Practical advice on allergen awareness
  • An update on new labelling legislation coming out in October 2021
  • A Q&A session

Find out more and sign up on Eventbrite


Growth Accelerator Webinar Series

GetSet for Growth | 29 September and 6,13 October

Explore different growth models and strategies, how to assess new opportunities to pivot your business, and gain competitiveness.

Series is held over three workshops, and it is recommended to participate in all of them to gain maximum benefit. 

Find out more here


Business Courses

Cornwall Marine Network | October

Fully funded training courses are now available to employers in Cornwall, Devon and Somerset. All courses are run by CMN Training, duration of 7 hours split into manageable sessions.

View the programme here

Find out more on the website


Design & Make #1 Training

Smart Citizens | 19 October

Design & Make #1 is an opportunity for citizens to learn to use Autodesk’s Fusion 360 software - a really intuitive CAD/CAM package that allows users to design and make products - from conception through to production.

Find out more here.

Funding streams

Lump Sum Digital Interventions to address the digital divide in response to Coronavirus

Call to run a project to help address the digital divide in response to Coronavirus. To deliver additional bolt-on activity to existing ESF projects. 100% ESF ‘Lump Sum’ based funding.

Full application deadline: 11.59pm on 30 September 2020.

Find out more here


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Keep up to date with news and advice on our COVID-19 business support page 

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