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Since 2007, Innovate UK has invested around £2.5bn to help businesses across the country to innovate, with match funding from industry taking the total value of projects above £4.3bn.

Innovate UK has helped 8,500 organisations create around 70,000 jobs and added an estimated £18bn of value to the UK economy. In the period 2019/2020, Innovate UK received 5,794 applications for grant funding and made 949 awards. £645,886 was awarded in terms of grant funding, 24% of the total amount applied for.

Mealhub Limited Industrial Sector: Restaurant meal distribution software

Mealhub Limited, a London based company, has applied to Innovate UK for grant funding for a project to transform the restaurant industry, creating new technology to group orders and streamline processes. The project aims to create a state-of-the-art, thermally insulated hub for meals to be delivered to, in high density areas such as hospitals, offices and apartments.

This allows the costs of delivery to be shared amongst hundreds of orders rather than a single order, reducing the cost of delivery by over 95%. This revolutionary piece of hardware will be integrated with advanced Machine Learning models that predict consumer behaviour, to create a system that delivers meals from favourite restaurants from as little as £5, with no additional delivery fees. Once ordered from Mealhub’s mobile application, delivered meals can be seamlessly collected from the hub at the tap of a button, having paired automatically with the user’s smartphone. The application was successful and the project has received £190,470 by way of funding.

Bakeplan Limited Industrial Sector: Demand-forecasting baking software

Bakeplan Limited is a company that specialises in demand-forecasting software that advises supermarket bakers and other in-store food production staff on the right products to make at the best times of the day. The company applied to Innovate UK for grant funding to enable feasibility studies to be carried out into the development of a dedicated online platform that combines consumer-facing e-commerce technology with specialist bakery production functionality.

Bakeplan aimed to re-purpose their existing bakery software platform, transforming it from a business-to-business (B2B) to a business-to-consumer (B2C) system within five months. The motivation for this project is the fact that the Covid-19 pandemic has forced the shut down of hospitality businesses such as restaurants and cafés and this has led to many craft bakeries having to supply the consumer, via home delivery services instead. The shift from supplying businesses to supplying consumers presents many big operational challenges. Craft bakeries typically deal with hundreds of customer orders every day, all of which need to be produced overnight ready for delivery the next morning.

This unique challenge has been addressed from the very earliest days of business computing and there are a number of specialised bakery management software systems available, such as Cybake, Flexibake and BaPS. These B2B systems perform the necessary number-crunching to collate customer orders, calculate production requirements, manage recipes, control allergen and nutritional information and organise logistics. However, they are not designed to manage home deliveries.

This project aims to provide craft bakeries with a dedicated online platform that combines consumer-facing e-commerce technology with specialist bakery production functionality. Without this solution, bakers would need to use generic e-commerce platforms for fresh food such as Amazon Fresh, Deliveroo and Uber Eats. However, these do not provide bakers with the necessary specialist functionality and, moreover, have a serious impact on bakers’ slim margins.

Bakeplan Limited received £74,498 by way of grant funding to enable feasibility studies to be carried out.

Shoppar Limited Industry Sector: Data Analytics in retail sector

Shoppar Limited, a London based company, applied to Innovate UK for grant funding to support a study into data analytics software for the retail sector. Shoppar empowers retailers with live customer data, via privacy-centred facial analytics, to help brands deliver dynamically modified marketing messages in-store, providing actionable and insightful data regarding customer response to digital signage.

Shoppar is an established provider, selling this service to several major brands in the UK. Innovate UK funding brings together a sector leading partnership of Shoppar and Bournemouth University, to twin Shoppar’s existing facial analytics technology to an algorithm to then ‘tailor make’ digital adverts or other media for the specific demographic or mood of the customer.

The funding will support British based high-tech business Shoppar, to develop and deploy their technology globally, within this lucrative market. Shoppar Limited received £368,442 by way of funding towards the project.

To download a copy of these Retail, Wholesale and Merchandising case studies, please click here.

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