Innovation Series | Why Innovation is essential to UK Small business post Covid 19

Research shows 85% of UK SMEs consider innovation an essential part of Covid-19 recovery – yet less than 15% feel the Government is doing enough to support it.

Fewer than 30% of these same executives feel confident that they are prepared to address the changes they see coming and have no real Innovation plan to capitalise on any new opportunities.

These EY sponsored events are designed to shine a spotlight on some of the exciting SME’s in the Eastern region, especially those contributing towards better working practices, sustainability goals and innovation.

Addressing issues such as:

• What do you see as the next ‘big thing’ that will affect your business?

• How do you encourage innovation, and what’s the best way to foster that mindset?

• What skills, experience and behaviours will we need from our staff in the next few years?

• How do we recruit the right people who will be comfortable with change?

• How can we become a greener business?

• How do we make ourselves more efficient and therefore more profitable?

Reinvigorate your business with fresh ideas, meet industry pioneers, hear from award-winning guest speakers and discover how to deliver breakthrough results. 

EY Breakthrough Incentives

EY Breakthrough Incentives work with SMEs of any size that are innovating within their sector to help them claim back R&D Tax Relief. To date, they have successfully filed over 1500 R&D claims on behalf of their clients and helped hundreds of business owners recoup millions of pounds of vital working capital. Winner of the Tolley’s Best UK Independent Tax Consultancy Firm 2019 as Breakthrough Funding; the company knows a thing or two about helping businesses gain access to this much-needed government-funded tax relief. The EY Breakthrough Incentives team, is a sub-service line of EY’s National Incentive team which enables the ability to maintain its dedication to the SME market, whilst benefitting from the credibility and safeguarding that comes from being one of the Big Four.

Host - Sue NelsonExecutive Director at EY

Sue Nelson is a multiple award-winning businesswoman, author, broadcaster and speaker and a renowned expert on using innovation to accelerate to hyper profitability. 

She was the founder and owner of the Breakthrough Group, which grew from a two-person operation in her conservatory in 2015 to a highly profitable multi-million-pound business. It was sold to EY (Ernst and Young) in 2020. 

Sue has appeared as a guest on a range of national television and radio news programme in the UK from Sky News, Radio 5 Live and Radio 4’s Today Programme to The Culture Show, BBC Breakfast and The Politics Show.

The story of Breakthrough Funding’s success can be found here.

Guest Speaker - Andrew Gomarsall MBE, Executive Chairman at N2S Ltd 

Andrew was part of England’s Rugby World Cup winning team in 2003, reached the finals again in 2007 and was awarded an MBE in 2004. Since retiring from professional sport, Andrew has taken up an executive role within his family business, which is a market leader in environmental & ethical recycling of IT equipment. 100% of all products are being turned into a resource rather than waste. They are also the number one provider in the UK for IT security and Data Protection services. The firm, which was co-founded by Andrew’s father, Jack, is currently working with Coventry University to develop cutting edge bio-leaching technology that allows precious metals and rare minerals to be extracted from printed circuit boards. As well as leading the business, Andrew also speaks at a range of National and International events on subjects including; Leadership, sustainability and Green Business Technology.


  • Emma Blaylock – International business consultant, whose CV includes roles with Sony advising on new technology solutions across their consumer electronics and content businesses. Amazon, defining and driving strategy of digital publishing content for the Kindle platform and more recently as FD for a technology start-up developing optical processors for Artificial Intelligence solutions.
  • Sally Goodsell - Managing Director of Anglia Capital Group. Experienced business angel investor with a particular interest in supporting women's enterprise and high growth businesses
  • Alice Reeve - CEO of Hethel Innovation, one of East Anglia’s premier Low Carbon Innovation hubs dedicated to supporting the growth and success of high-performance engineering and manufacturing companies
  • Jonathan Goodacre - UK and European Patent and Design Attorney of Keltie LLP. Providing SME’s with specialist IP knowledge across sustainability, biotech, chemistry and Agritech sectors.

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