Emerging Markets Innovation Accelerator

Evaluating a £820,000 Community Renewal Fund programme


Encouraging innovation and business growth in new and emerging markets

The Emerging Markets Innovation Accelerator was a £820,000 programme that aimed to enhance the collaborative innovation culture in County Durham. It focused on opportunities in key emerging markets: net zero heat, fintech, space, and advanced materials.

The programme supported SMEs in developing new products, advanced materials, and exploring new market opportunities. It also included a PhD enterprise programme with training on technology commercialisation.

It was funded by the UK Government’s Community Renewal Fund and delivered by the Centre for Process Innovation, Durham University, and Business Durham.

Urban Foresight was commissioned to provide a comprehensive assessment of the programme’s impact and provide recommendations for how it could have been improved.

Our evaluation followed the UK Government’s Community Renewal Fund guidelines. This required extensive desk research, economic analysis and stakeholder engagement with the delivery team and the beneficiaries of the programme.

Our evaluation report comprehensively assessed the programme’s impact on the regional economy. It identified the outcomes and impacts of the programme, and explained why they occurred. The report also assessed the value for money of the CRF funding, and identified lessons that could be learnt to improve the design and delivery of a similar programme in the future.

The evaluation report provided a blueprint for CPI, Durham University, and Business Durham to work together to raise the profile of the county’s capability for innovation. It also helped to secure future funding for the programme, as it demonstrated the positive impact of the programme on the regional economy.


Image credit: Kvalifik