Our history

Below is a brief history of The iNet since it's inception as Transport iNet in 2009

Transport iNet was set up by the East Midands Development Agency (emda) as one of 4 innovation networks supporting SMEs throughout the East Midlands. The others were the Food & Drink iNet, Healthcare and Bioscience iNet and Sustainable Construction iNet.

Transport iNet was based at Loughborough University as part of the Enterprise Office. It offered advice, guidance and funded support to SMES working in the transport equipment manufacturing sector.

In 2016 Transport iNet became The iNet after securing funding from LLEP  to provide business support to a range of other sectors. It is still based in the Research and Enterprise Office at Loughborough University.

iNet's history

New project supporting R&D and Innovation - PROSPER

January 2020 saw the start of a new project - PROmoting SME Product Enhancement and Research (PROSPER).  This project supports new product and service development and R&D activities. 

10th Birthday

The iNet celebrates 10 years supporting local businesses


SPRING project commences

As one project ends (Catalysing Growth), another one starts.  Supporting Productivity, Innovation and Growth (SPRING) opened in July 2019 and is supporting business growth and productivity for SMEs in Leicester and Leicestershire.


Three new projects operational

Newly rebranded as The iNet, 3 new projects open for business. PACE and SING in Leicester and Leicestershire and Catalysing Growth Through Transport Equipment Manufacturing in Derby and Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire.


Transport iNet becomes The iNet

Transport iNet became The iNet to reflect the extension of the team’s remit to support a wider range of sectors under the latest ERDF scheme. The iNet now supports SMEs based in Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire.

LU Space Incubator

In March 2016 the UK Space Agency (UKSA) awarded funding to six incubators, including Loughborough University, to establish an incubation programme to support start-up companies and SMEs new to the space sector.  The Loughborough University Space Incubator aims to establish and support the development of a cluster of start-up companies working in areas related to the space sector, at the new Advanced Technology Innovation Centre (ATIC).


LUMINATE project commences

LUMINATE (Loughborough University Manufacturing Innovation in Advanced Transport Engineering) was the follow-on project through which Transport iNet continued to support SMEs in the East Midlands under the previous ERDF scheme.


Transport iNet starts supporting businesses in the East Midlands

From 2009 - 2013 Transport iNet successfully supported businesses across the East Midlands under both emda and ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) funding schemes.