Business Support

St John’s Innovation Centre offers business support and assistance with growing and running a business, especially the commercial exploitation of technology and raising finance. Drawing on 25 years experience as a leading European business incubator St John’s Innovation Centre aims to provide the best strategic business advice, coaching, Leadership and Management training and introductions to start-ups, micros and SMEs.

Business Support Sign-Posting for SME’s

This document is designed for use by SMEs to help them locate sources of business support, help and information.  It is not intended to be a directory of businesses or business support organisations, which can best be found through the GOV.UK website. Business information and contacts can also be found through the Technopole Report listed below.

Business Support for SMEs


Cambridge Cluster Study

Published in 2011 ‘The Cambridge economy: retrospect and prospect’ was commissioned by the East of England Development Agency (EEDA) and local partners to better understand the state of the Greater Cambridge economy, and the challenges and issues it faces, in order to inform future interventions and policy decisions to ensure Cambridge reaches its full economic potential.  The report is based on existing data and forecasts and consultation with businesses and other stakeholders. The main focus of the study was the high tech cluster, which includes high tech firms, Cambridge University and related research institutions, and specialist services which are located in Cambridge principally to support these core activities.

Cambridge Cluster Study


Raising Finance & Investment

St John’s Innovation Centre offers expert support in helping client companies raise finance for their business. Other business support includes regular workshops and seminars such as investor readiness panels to share expertise with you to maximize your chances of raising finance. The SJIC blog which contains focused advice on a wide range of business support issues including:  business planning, preparing to raise finance, pitching for investment and applying for grants. In addition, a wide range of business support training, workshops and networking events are also held at SJIC. See the Training and Events sections of the website for more details.

The following are examples of previous business support programmes delivered by St John’s Innovation Centre:

Understanding Finance for Business

Understanding Finance for Business was a free step-by-step programme run by the team at St John’s Innovation Centre (SJIC) on behalf of the East of England Development Agency (EEDA) throughout 2010-2011. Delivered by people with a wealth of experience in advising entrepreneurs, reviewing business plans and investing in early stage companies. The programme involved workshops providing an overview of different finance options and specific types of funding (grant, bank, equity) enabling businesses to understand the advantages/disadvantages of different types of finance. Businesses at the stage of applying or pitching for funding could access tailored help from experienced mentors. They were given the opportunity to do a dry-run pitch to ‘friendly’ investors in order to help them prepare ahead of doing it for real and to see their business from an investor’s perspective.

• UFFB Case Study: Plugin2Peterborough


Coaching for High Growth Companies

The Coaching for High Growth programme was designed to help ambitious and forward thinking businesses unlock and sustain their high growth potential. The programme consisted of a compulsory Growth Pathfinder master class and up to 4 days of one to one coaching, tailored to meet the company’s needs and to help businesses focus on their strategic priorities for growth and develop a tailored action plan. Thereafter, businesses could apply for a coach to work alongside their management team who would help with structure, direction and defining targets or milestones for the business. The coach and business would work together as a progressive growth plan was developed and kick-started over a period of 3 – 5 months addressing such areas as leadership and management, market understanding, operational issues, innovation, supply chain management, skills development.

• Coaching for High Growth Case Study: Igennus  


Inspiration for Growth Programme

The Inspiration for Growth programme was funded by The Greater Cambridgeshire Partnership and delivered by SJIC, ending March 2011.  The programme offered free advice and support to high growth businesses based in Greater Cambridgeshire. The support came in the form of focused events on issues of relevance to a growing business or 1:1 sessions with an experienced adviser.  Popular workshop topics included Marketing, Social Media, Sales and Negotiations. In a tough climate, accessing such free advice designed for ambitious firms in Cambridgeshire provided a real difference and over 100 jobs were safeguarded or created through the Inspiration for Growth programme.

•Inspiration for Growth Case Study: Applied Knowledge