According to the latest State Of Small Business Britain report from the Enterprise Research Centre, part of Warwick Business School, SMEs across the nation have been able to survive the effects of the pandemic partly thanks to their innovation efforts.
From reinventing business models to embracing new ways of communicating and even launching entirely new products and services, businesses have risen to the challenges of the economic slowdown.
Whilst previous evidence has shown that UK firms tend to under-invest in research and development and innovation, the ERC's research finds that the pandemic has had an important impact on the innovation activities of UK businesses, particularly among SMEs.
But the report also says that these smaller businesses need to now do more to meet what it calls the ‘Triple Transition’ – namely business digitalisation, adoption of Net Zero practices, and boosting productivity.
Denys Smith-Hart of InterSys Micronics agrees and said: "The pandemic has shown what's possible when push comes to shove. The adoption of digital, for instance, has been significantly accelerated as a result of home and hybrid working during the various lockdowns.
"But businesses need to now take this newfound willingness to experiment and explore, and build on it for the future. There are some major shifts on the way, and it will be the agile businesses out there, the ones that invest in research and development and are able to pivot, that will make the most of the opportunities that are thrown-up by these changes."
InterSys Micronics, which has its offices in St Annes, is sponsoring the Innovative Business of the Year category in this year's Be Inspired Business Awards, the BIBAs.
Denys said: "Lancashire has a long history of innovation stemming from its central role in the Industrial Revolution, and this inventiveness is still alive today.
"We'll be looking for evidence of businesses innovating products, services and operating models in order to deliver truly transformative change for their customers, people and communities."
The BIBAs are open for entries until Friday, April 8, at www.thebibas.co.uk