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Northern Powerhouse European Union

Innovation Discovery

Powering businesses to create and commercialise products and services, and challenge the status quo

With expert support, funding and tailored resources.

Unleash Your Innovation

Innovation has never been more important for small and medium-sized businesses, leading to stronger turnover performance, better productivity and a higher level of competitiveness. 

Innovation Discovery is a comprehensive service for SMEs in Greater Manchester that will unleash your innovation and give you a clear pathway to discovering new commercial opportunities.

GC Business Growth Hub’s innovation specialists have delivered tangible benefits to hundreds of SMEs and we understand only too well the difficulties in getting new ideas moving.  Our mission is to help your business to overcome these issues and accelerate the time it takes to bring new products or services to market.

Areas you can receive support with include: addressing technical challenges with short or long-term solutions; accessing research or testing; transferring knowledge, data and expertise into your business; and access to innovation funding and supporting your application.

To access expert support, funding and tailored resources, email and connect with your local innovation advisor.

Innovation Grapevine

Funding, insights and more - direct to your inbox.


Start Your Innovation Journey

Powering Innovation Powering Innovation

Comprehensive support with developing and progressing innovation opportunities, creating a route-to-market plan.

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Digital Transformation Digital Transformation

Designed for SMEs with the ambition, capacity and drive to grow, through the utilisation and embedding of digital technology.

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Green Innovation Green Innovation

Specialist support for SMEs who want to launch green products, improve the eco performance of their existing offer, and reach new markets

Green Innovation
Contact the Innovation team


Multiwood Products

“The Hub’s specialist advisors are really helping us stand out in the market and generate more business.” - Ben Allan, Creative Director

Hallidays Hydropower

“They have helped us to form new partnerships with universities, as well as introduce us to new companies and industry contacts, which have proven invaluable.” - Richard Tate, Project Manager


“The results have enabled us to win new business and develop our portfolio of certification. Their support has been excellent.” - Louise King, Director


“I would highly recommend GC Business Growth Hub to any local based business seeking support and to explore the possibility of an Innovation Voucher towards research and study.” - Oliver Briggs, Founder


“I would highly recommend GC Business Growth Hub to any local based business seeking support and to explore the possibility of an Innovation Voucher towards research and study.” - Oliver Briggs, Founder


“The results have enabled us to win new business and develop our portfolio of certification. Their support has been excellent.” - Louise King, Director

GJD Manufacturing wanted to explore new ways of increasing revenues through product innovation. Since getting fully-funded support the Rochdale business "has gone from strength to strength" says Managing Director Mark Tibbenham.

Innovation Resources

Hear from some of Greater Manchester's inspirational businesses.

Success stories

The latest tips and advice from business innovation experts.


Workshop sessions delivered by business innovation experts.


A guide to accelerating product development

Read now

Additional Support


We can help you access leading knowledge, facilities and equipment. From world-leading universities and specialist organisations, there is a wealth of expertise at your fingertips that could be used to support innovation in your business.

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Get the funding you need to access expert support to help your business innovate, develop and grow. Innovation Vouchers enable SMEs in Greater Manchester to apply for up to £5,000 to accelerate the development of innovative products and services.

Find out more


Finance, Opportunities, Responsibility & the Circular Economy
A new ‘green innovation’ programme for SMEs in Greater Manchester

Find out more

Cyber security

It has never been more important for businesses in Greater Manchester to reduce their risk of unauthorised access to personal information stored on smartphones, computers and the internet.

Visit our EU Exit site

Innovation FAQs

Why is innovation important? 

If your SME (small and medium sized enterprise) doesn’t embrace innovation, it risks stagnating and eventually losing business to its competitors.  

It doesn’t matter what size they are, or what industry or service they work in, the message is the same: businesses that embrace innovation are more likely to experience improved turnover, productivity, and competitiveness than those that don’t. 

What is innovation? 

Innovation is about turning an idea into reality. That idea may be ‘new’ to the world, or it may simply be new to your business. It could be the latest ground-breaking design, or a relatively minor, but impactful, change to an internal process… and most things in between. ‘Doing things differently’ is a way of thinking that can be applied to every area of your business operation.  

Get inspired by some of Greater Manchester’s innovative businesses 

What are the main barriers to innovation? 

These are some of the common blockages to getting new ideas moving. 

  • A stale workplace culture. 
  • Little time and resources devoted to research and development (R&D) 
  • Not having the right knowledge, skills, or facilities 
  • Lacking a robust commercial plan 
  • Lnsufficient funding  

Many SMEs have lots of innovative ideas, but often don’t know how to filter them, focus on the best ones and, in the case of a new product or service, create a viable business case and a clear plan towards commercialisation.  

The good news is that Greater Manchester is home to a vibrant and world class innovation eco-system that can support you and your business. Our innovation team has helped more than 3,000 businesses in Greater Manchester and can help you navigate your innovation journey. Contact us today 

See also: Unleashing Your Innovation: A guide to accelerating product development 

How is innovation measured? 

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to measuring innovation. Some businesses find that tangible measures work, such as: R&D spend (the higher the spend, the more innovative the company is being), R&D tax credits (which reward spending on innovation), intellectual property created (patents filed, registered designs), and new products/services launched. Others focus on the value of their human capital and how creative their workforce is.  

Innovation is unique to you and your business, and the journey to getting new ideas moving is not a linear one.  Our approach starts with an ‘Innovation Canvas’ - a tool to help businesses understand where they are on this journey and give them a realistic innovation strategy that has a measurable beginning, middle and end. 

What are the eligibility requirements to receiving support from GC Business Growth Hub? 

GC Business Growth Hub works with local, national and European partners, so that wherever possible we’re able to offer support that is fully-funded and can be provided at no direct cost to your business. 

Being publicly-funded, this support is subject to State Aid rules and the associated eligibility criteria: 

  • Greater Manchester clients only
  • SME: Small or medium enterprise i.e. less than 250 (full-time equivalent) employees
  • Annual turnover less than 50 million euros or balance sheet less than 43 million euros

How long does the process take? 

It takes five-minutes to enquire about our services online: Enquire and Grow 

We’ll start by asking about your business and your innovation aspirations before planning your journey towards sustainable business growth. We are proud to have worked with many SMEs – such as GJD Manufacturing and The Insights Family – for several years, providing wide-reaching support to help with their innovation challenges and beyond. 

How can I stay up to date with the latest innovation practices? 

Make sure you sign up to receive our Innovation Grapevine newsletter, which will give you all the latest funding opportunities, insight, news and dates for your diary.  You can sign up here.

And keep a close eye on our Innovation Blogs section, which contains the latest insight and funding opportunities.  

And here are some social media handles to follow: