Innovation, the key to business success
Alan Clements MD of Clements Marketing was recently invited to attend and speak at the D2N2 Innovation Summit “Time to innovate”, which was held on 30th January 2014 at the Enterprise centre at the University of Derby.
The aim of the summit was to outline the current state of business innovation in the D2N2 area, the support currently available and to seek the views of businesses to shape the support needed in coming years. The summit started off with the announcement that the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) scheme will be delegating an innovation budget of £34 million to 3 Universities (University of Derby, The University of Nottingham and Nottingham Trent University) for the benefit of SMEs. SMEs will be able to gain access to this budget to use in partnership with the Universities to help with such tasks as research as well as business support and advice.
Alan was invited to present a case study into how (with the help of the University of Nottingham and various forms of funding available) Clements Marketing has successfully used support and finance from various organisations to carry out a research project into the market for British beer in China and turned it into a business ‘British Craft Beers Ltd’.
Alan Clements was initially approached in January 2012, to take on a three month European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) funded Food and Drink iNet project to research the market for East Midlands Craft Beers in China.
A number of project partners were identified including;
- Thornbridge Brewery, Bakewell.
- University of Nottingham Food and Biofuel Innovation Centre in the School of Biosciences.
- UK Trade and Investment
- University of Nottingham Ningbo Business School Team
The research and findings from this project concluded that there was a market in China for English beer and that the time was right. British Craft Beers Ltd was officially set up set up as a small business in order to take the iNet project into an implementation phase.
A number of Masters graduates were provided with placements both within Nottingham University itself to conduct research and within British Craft Beers to assist with the business start-up.
A number of sources of finance were gained:
- Food & Drink iNet: 2 year ERDF funding: approx £2,500/month to support regional brewers for export. Preparing 20 SME’s to be ready for export.
- UKTI Passport to Export: £3,000 matched funding for export travel/hotels/exhibitions/samples. Both for CML and British Craft Beers.
- Santander Student Placement Grant: £500/month for 3 months
Two research trips to China were undertaken in order to obtain contacts with importers as well as gain potential buyers with tasting events and meetings. British Craft Beers are now taking 7 UK breweries to Shanghai in May 2014 where it has a stand at the SIAL Food and Drink exhibition.