Innovation Series | From surviving to thriving Innovation in a crisis is critical

For many small businesses, the world may never return to how it was before Covid 19, which is why looking for creative and innovative ways to reinvent your business and diversify might give you the best chance of future success.

If you run a small business, you might already be considering:

  • Streamlining your operation
  • Adopting new staffing models
  • Upgrading existing or implementing new technologies
  • Diversifying and launching new products or services
  • Taking your business online

To help small business owners tackle these challenges, EY Breakthrough Incentives have created a series of 3 stand-alone events designed to shine a spotlight on some of the exciting SME’s who've created new products and services, found new ways to engage their customers and become leaner, greener and more efficient during these tough times.

At these FREE online sessions, you will hear ideas, advice, and tips on:

  • How to be open to new opportunities and get a fresh perspective
  • How to generate more good ideas and avoid the bad ones
  • How to motivate and reward creativity within your team
  • How to offer greener products and services
  • How to fund your future innovation and business plans

We want to help you 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 is 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 Speakers

Wayne Taylor – Founder and MD of Rehook

Entrepreneur and Technologist Wayne appeared on BBC’s Dragons Den in late 2019 and started a bidding war between the five Dragons after pitching his innovative cycling accessory tool.

Wayne was offered investment by all five of the business giants, making Rehook one of very few companies to ever have received offers from all five Dragons in the Den since the show began.

He successfully negotiated a deal that saw him raise all the money he was seeking and also secured the input of serial Investor Deborah Meaden.

During the pandemic, Wayne has refined and improved the product even further with production moving from 3D printing to injection moulding. The business has also begun securing distribution deals across the world and has been working on new products ready for release in 2021/22

Wayne will talk about the challenges of launching a new product during Covid and his journey from securing investment to seeing his product available in over 350 branches of Halfords across the country.

Eliot Wood and Oliver Bourne - Co-Founders of WYSPR Ltd

WYSPR was founded by Eliot Wood and Oliver Bourne, two business students and friends from the University of Essex in their final year of university.

In a post-Covid world where every business is looking for a competitive edge, and many are struggling with the notion of bringing their business online, Eliot and Oliver saw a huge gap in the market and created an innovative solution that allows brands to use their customers to promote products or services on social media. This ultimately creates the most authentic and hyper-targeted influence possible – a digital word of mouth. They call this “Friendvertising”™.

Having come up with their exciting new concept they pitched, dragons-den style to Business Angles across the region and within just a few weeks found themselves overfunded, raising in total c£450,000. As they move into the next exciting stage of their development and launch their product, industry experts have already predicted that their company could “revolutionise the digital marketing industry”.


  • C J Green – Co-Founder and Co-Creator of Clever Goose HR and Chair of New Anglia LEP
  • Hannah Smith - Investment Director at Anglia Capital Group
  • Jeremy Hyde - Regional Director at The FD Centre East Anglia
  • Paul Harrison - European Patent Attorney and Intellectual Property expert