A peer-network programme where Cumbrian business leaders can explore and test opportunities, challenge each other, and learn the tools and knowledge needed to accelerate innovative business ideas. This is a six month programme which consists of workshops, access to Masterclasses, an overnight experiential, an open-innovation challenge and a company visit.

Next cohort starts: October 2018

Applications are now open.

Who is it for?

The Innovation Development Programme has been specifically designed for senior decision makers of Cumbria based SMEs. This six month programme is suited to businesses who want to learn the tools they need to explore new markets, adapt to a changing environment, identify opportunities for product and service development, and implement an entrepreneurial mind-set within the business.

This is a fully-funded programme available to European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) eligible companies.

What’s involved?

  • Businesses on this programme will be required to attend 7 days of workshops over the course of six months. The majority of the programme’s workshops will be delivered in Cumbria.
  • The programme begins with an Overnight Experiential (OE), which is a two-day (one-night) welcome event held in Cumbria. The OE features different idea generation exercises, focused discussions, and introduces the peer-to-peer learning process.
  • Over the following 5 months you will participate in a series of one day workshops delivered by leading academics at Lancaster University and business experts in the field.
  • You will experience a company visit and a tour of operations at a large regional company, which is intended to highlight best practice to learn how to overcome challenges.
  • An Open-Innovation challenge will be set where you will work in groups to explore the structures and behaviours required for the implementation of an innovation-oriented culture.

What will I learn? 

Workshops will cover:

  • Customer, market, and competitor analysis
  • Idea generation, testing and validation
  • Developing dynamic business models
  • Creating an entrepreneurial culture
  • Innovation in practise


  • Each cohort brings together a trusted group of business leaders with different skills, knowledge and experience to develop fresh perspectives.
  • An opportunity to spend time actively working on your business, away from day-to-day distractions.
  • Learn tools and techniques to accelerate the development of market opportunities and the commercialisation of new products/services.
  • Gain access to the series of popular Masterclasses run by Lancaster University Management School which includes talks from world-class and high-profile speakers for inspiration.

Who will deliver it?

This programme will be delivered by Lancaster University Management School, which is ranked in the UK’s top ten and is among the world’s top 100 business schools.

Find out whether your business is eligible for support

Benefits of the Cumbria Innovations Platform
  • Reduce the risk of research and development
  • Speed up innovation
  • Support the development and commercialisation of new products
  • Accelerate growth in innovative Cumbrian businesses

What else is on offer?

Contact us

If you have an idea for a project, please use our contact form

If you have any question or want to speak to one of our team, please email or call:

Pete Cornwall to find out more about our innovation development programme

+44 (0)1524 510 728

Stewart Kember to find out more about digital product design

+44 (0)1524 510 444

Sarah Allison to find out more about our innovation workshops

+44 (0)1228 888 740

Alex Robson to find out more about the scientific facilities on offer: 

+44 (0)1524 593 797

We look forward to talking to you.