The i3P SME programme, supported by Innovate UK, has been launched to unlock innovation hidden in the SME supply chain. Enabling the adoption of new technologies to drive productivity and support the growth of high performing SMEs.
SMEs deliver 54% of total UK turnover in the infrastructure and construction sector, nearly double that of large companies at £191bn each year.
Despite the size of the sector and the growth in construction tech, there is untapped opportunity to fast track productivity growth by tackling three key challenges:
- Fragmentation. Over 190,000 SMEs work in construction and infrastructure consulting in the UK alone (excluding sole traders). It is hard for Clients & Tier 1 organisations to find and assess technologies from innovative SMEs.
- Earnings. SMEs earn on average 78p in every pound, with revenue per head 22% lower than in large firms in Professional Services such as Engineering Advisory. Increasing productivity by 5pp would add £10bn to the sector each year.
- Trust. The adoption of innovative technologies is held back by the lack of trust in working with new suppliers and the different ways of working between SMEs and Clients / Tier 1s.
The i3P SME programme will target the points of friction that inhibit effective collaboration.
Key programme outcomes
Over an 18 month period from October 2019 the programme will:
- Understand and target the barriers that are preventing effective working between start-ups/SMEs and Clients/Tier 1s. As part of this, we will be holding three roundtables in November and December 2019 for i3P members and SMEs.
- Build & launch a Marketplace of innovative SMEs for i3P members. Creating a single place where i3P members can access trusted SMEs, recommended by members, for members. Launch Q1 2020.
- Drive & evidence impact, with data insights on SMEs growth, value, skills and services. Engaging with industry bodies to drive collaboration.