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The programme, led by University of the Arts London in partnership with some of the UK’s leading universities, is part of the AHRC Creative Industries Clusters Programme (CICP), funded by the UK Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. The CICP aims to boost productivity via creative R&D, backing businesses to create good jobs and increase the earning power of people throughout the UK with investment in skills, industries and infrastructure.
From over 80 applications, 13 were shortlisted and provided with one-to-one mentoring, business workshops and training to help develop their initial concepts into fully fledged business plans. The shortlisted businesses then had to pitch their idea to a panel of industry and academic experts – with just ten making the final cut.
Awards totaling over £1.2 million will be made to: Ananas Anam, Anna Glover, Awaytomars, Blackhorse Lane Ateliers, Chip[S] Board, Doppelhaus, Elvis & Kresse, Segura, Tengri, Tibor. In addition each recipient will receive a comprehensive package of support, including mentoring from leading academics across the partnership, hands-on specialist creative and technical support as well as ongoing project management and strategic business support from across the BFTT team.
The awarded projects cover a range of subsectors and R&D areas, including: bio-material development to non-woven textiles; a global design crowdsourcing platform; sustainable surface finishing processes; on-shoring of state-of-the-art sustainable manufacturing; novel digital solutions to increase transparency and improve sustainability in the sector. The projects, which all focus on a specific R&D challenge, will launch from Feb / May 2020, each running for 12 - 18 months depending on the complexity of the proposition.
“Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are critical to the economy and critical to the creative sector in particular, making up over 95 per cent of creative businesses in the UK. The Business of Fashion, Textiles and Technology (BFTT) SME Research and Development programme seeks to highlight the value and impact SMEs can have in our sector and on the economy, when provided with the right type of financial support and research expertise,” said professor Jane Harris, BFTT programme director.
“This initiative is intended to creatively and technically address the challenge of maintaining growth in the crucial early years of business, whilst also providing support for much needed innovation, and sustainable growth, especially in these challenging and rapidly changing times. The diversity of projects selected are indicative of the breadth of innovation potential in the fashion sector. The dynamism they naturally bring as SMEs, and the bespoke academic expertise provided by BFTT is a perfect mix to deliver industry-changing innovation which cements a vision for a more sustainable fashion system which supports growth here in the UK and around the world,” added Harris.
The BFTT SME Creative R&D Programme is hosted by University of the Arts London (UAL), in partnership with: Loughborough University; University College London (UCL); Queen Mary University London (QMUL); University of Leeds and University of Cambridge. The programme consists of a bespoke support package designed to enable small and medium enterprises from across the fashion, textiles and technology sector, access to expertise and resources to develop the next generation of sustainability-driven products, services and experiences. Over 2020 / 21 BFTT will be launching further funding support to the value of £1.2 million.
BFTT is a five-year industry-led project, which focuses on delivering innovation and within the entire fashion and textile supply chain.
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