Problems we would like to help solve: Innovation Challenges
We will deliver a wide range of Innovation Challenges, each focussing on a specific rural issue, enabling your organisation to work alongside industry experts and turn ideas and concepts into commercially viable solutions.
The focus of these challenges will continue to evolve over the lifetime of the project each one will focus on problems facing the rural economy, where it is reasonable to think that SMEs could develop solutions. Examples of challenges that have so far been suggested include:
Given that current paid and voluntary transport services are limited, can be unreliable and in many cases rely heavily on public subsidy, are there alternative ways to provide the mobility required by people living in rural communities?
Ageing in rural communities
Rural areas tend to have a higher average population age and are more affected by demographic ageing trends than urban areas; what does this mean in terms of solutions for service delivery and opportunities for new business models?
Rural areas face particular challenges in decarbonising, including access to low carbon transport, in some cases a lack of a direct connection to electricity supply and poorly insulated buildings; what solutions might SMEs offer in terms of new products, retrofitting services or business models?
Population changes, planning rules and simple economics mean that rural housing stock may not be suitable for the needs of rural communities; how can new products or service models help?
Remote communities experience unique challenges with regards to crime, particularly exacerbated by their geographic isolation; can new approaches reduce crime and/or increase solving rates?
Flooding in rural areas
Serious flooding events are becoming more frequent and research suggests that climate change may accentuate this further; the priority when flooding occurs tends to be to protect towns and cities, often by using rural areas to capture flood water, which presents both opportunities for better utilisation of rural land for water capture and threats to rural businesses and communities; what new products or services may help?
Access to even rudimentary internet access can be sparse in rural areas, affecting access to services as well as leisure and educational uses; can new approaches increase availability or reduce cost?
How can I take part following COVID19 restrictions?
We have adapted our programme to ensure the safety of our staff and clients is maintained. We are delivering support via online video conferencing and telephone.
Where required, and if deemed to be appropriate, we can carry out face to face meetings providing risk assessments are prepared, and that all appropriate health and safety guidance has been met. As the situation changes frequently, we are constantly reviewing our procedures.