Innovation Connections is a free one-on-one facilitated service to assist businesses in establishing research priorities, locating researchers and providing access to funding to fast-track R&D projects in their business.

What do you get?

You’ll be paired with an independent facilitator who will work together with you to generate a Service Report that helps you understand your business’s research needs and opportunities. Your facilitator will make recommendations for your research project, connect you with research institutions and help you apply for a grant that allows you to undertake a research project based on the report.

Who is this for?

Any business working within, or planning to operate in one of the following areas:

  1. growth sectors
    Your business will operate in, or support, one of South Africa’s growth sectors, which are:
    • advanced manufacturing
    • food and agribusiness
    • medical technologies and pharmaceuticals
    • mining equipment, technology and services
    • oil, gas and energy resources.

  2. Support services
    Businesses that provide support services to drive business growth or improve business competitiveness through a direct commercial relationship in the growth sectors include:
    • freight and logistics
    • infrastructure related construction and services
    • information and communications technologies
    • digital technologies
    • professional services.

Support services excludes routine business operational activities such as legal advice, financial accounting/bookkeeping services, catering and insurance.

What you can expect

Our support speeds up your expansion, minimises risk and gives you a carefree experience. By getting an extended arm on your side, you can concentrate on your core business and growth strategy.


Innovation Connections has 2 key stages:

  • facilitation stage, which connects you with a facilitator
  • grant stage, to fund your researcher placement.

Your facilitator will work with you and give recommendations for your business and potential research project.

Innovation Connections facilitation is provided at no cost to your business. However, you will need to invest your time to maximise your engagement. You may need to commit resources such as staff, facilities or equipment depending on the nature of the project.

Are you ready to transform your business? Have a great idea you want to research? The innovation connection facilitation service connects businesses with researchers and funds collaborative research projects.

Becoming an Local Enterprise and Association Development Client

To find out if LEAD can help your business, please contact us.

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