Businesses across the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP) region are being encouraged to take advantage of the final stages of a grant programme run by Cranfield University, in partnership with the University of Bedfordshire and part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

Under the IMAGE (Innovation in Manufacturing, Aerospace and Green Economy) programme, businesses in the region can apply for a grant of up to £8,750 to receive part-funding for a research and development project to be carried out with universities.

Over the last two years IMAGE has supported many businesses in the region including:

  • Keep it Sold Ltd with developing a working prototype to collect data about the health of consumer products.
  • Crowood Industries with developing a diversification plan which may increase the amount of plastic ink cartridges that are saved from landfill.
  • A food waste audit with The Good Loaf café, identifying potential financial and food waste savings.

Businesses have until the end of June to submit an application for consideration for grant-funding. Further details can be found on the IMAGE website.

Sandra Turner, Programme Manager for IMAGE, said: “Over the last two years, IMAGE has helped small and medium businesses across the SEMLEP region by providing grants enabling them to access some of the finest academic minds and research facilities in the country.

“We have supported all types of projects, from prototyping to food waste analysis to helping companies scale-up. In the final stages of the project we still have a number of grants available and I’d encourage those who are interested in applying to get in touch with us as soon as possible.”

Daniel Taylor, Managing Director at Crowood Industries, said: “Taking part in the IMAGE programme has given us a greater understanding of our positioning and also a much deeper understanding of the circular economy and how we can potentially create a new revenue stream.

“We are now researching the opportunities with grade 7 plastic and how we can create value through our residual waste.

“The IMAGE programme gave me a strategic perspective, allowing me to put steps in place for accelerated future growth over the next 12 months. By connecting the theory to what was actually happening now in my business, I am better prepared to plan for the future.”

Notes for editors

About the European Regional Development Fund

The IMAGE programme is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Department for Communities and Local Government (and in London the intermediate body Greater London Authority) is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund.

Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit