How will the Made Smarter Technology Accelerator respond to COVID-19 implications?

About (Startup)

The programme was designed before the COVID-19 outbreak and is delivered during the pandemic, which continues to have an impact on the manufacturing sector. The outputs and impact of the programme present an opportunity to boost the UK economy and aid recovery. As we also work to set challenges faced by industry, there is the potential to develop challenges focused specifically on the problems that COVID-19 presents and the opportunities that technology adoption offers. Challenges will be set by Digital Catapult, UKRI and our industrial sponsors and aligned to the five themes.

Intensifying the market of digital innovators will drive multiple outcomes for the manufacturing sector; to aid the recovery, improved productivity, increased market capitalisation, export growth and accelerating sectors towards industrial net-zero.

In addition to the challenges the pandemic presents to the wider industry, we will continue to closely monitor the situation and adjust our activities accordingly. For example, a number of our programmes are successfully adapting and being run completely online, including our showcases and events.

For startups and the innovation community in particular, Digital Catapult is aware of the business impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and knows that early stage immersive startups need our support now more than ever. The Made Smarter Technology Accelerator plans to further help startups in the following ways:

  • Business support – we plan to help startups make the right business decisions and pivot accordingly as they are now faced with complex and difficult realities (for example cash flow, team structure, industry impact) through:
    • Bespoke workshops on pertinent COVID-19 topics such as business strategy, pivoting business models or sectors, remote team management
    • 1-on-1 mentorship with experts from business and industry
    • Leveraging Digital Catapult networks and connecting startups with potential clients and partners
    • Investment support – despite the current investment challenges (for example investment frequency, valuations), in addition to the initial £20,000 programme prototype funding Made Smarter Technology Accelerator will:
      • Continue to educate startups about the investment landscape and pair them with an investor mentor who will support and answer investment-specific queries throughout the programme. Startups will begin to build important investment relationships with VCs and angels that will be beneficial in the next future
      • Inform startups about options on diversifying their funding through alternative financial and investment sources by organising workshops on R&D and loans