Innovation Growth Lab is an international initiative led by Nesta in partnership with several public and private organisations around the world.

Nesta is the UK’s innovation foundation with a mission to help people and organisations bring great ideas to life. Dedicated to supporting great ideas that can help improve lives, Nesta combines a number of roles. These range from early stage investment to funding practical programmes, supporting innovation skills and doing in-depth research. Nesta also run a range of EU wide programmes with partners across Europe.

We believe that we need a more experimental approach to innovation, entrepreneurship and growth policy, trialling new instruments but also evaluating them more rigorously. This involves making much more use of randomised controlled trials (RCTs), learning from successful experiences in other fields. Nesta’s Creative Credits was one of the first innovation policy RCTs, and we want to help extend this practice globally. This is why Nesta has led the development of IGL, the new global laboratory for innovation and growth policy.  

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a private, nonpartisan foundation that aims to foster economic independence by advancing educational achievement and entrepreneurial success. Founded by late entrepreneur and philanthropist Ewing Marion Kauffman, the Foundation is based in Kansas City, Mo., and has approximately $2 billion in assets.

The Kauffman Foundation has been a funder of many different entrepreneurship and innovation programmes in the United States, but the evidence base for what is effective remains thin. Now, with the proliferation of such programmes, we have the opportunity to build a stronger base of such evidence. One of the challenges in doing this is bringing together researchers, funders, and the programs. IGL offers a venue for making such connections. Efforts like IGL promise to generate better knowledge about how to cultivate two things essential to economic health, entrepreneurship and innovation.

Since the 1980s , the Argidius Foundation has been working to catalyse economic development in low- and middle-income countries, especially in Africa and Central America. Convinced of the potential that small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) hold for employment creation, income generation, and poverty reduction, our strategy focuses on building their capacity and improving their access to finance. By improving the effectiveness and reach of SME capacity development services, we aim to help entrepreneurs to build profitable businesses and contribute to the sustainable development of their communities.

Seeking to understand our impact and fully realise the potential of our interventions, we have placed a high priority on thoroughly understanding project performance, by evaluating projects throughout their life cycles. We hope that by embracing new and improved approaches, we will continue to evolve, becoming more effective in our work and enhancing the ability of our partners to fulfil their missions.  

The London Business Hub is the Local Enterprise Action Partnership (LEAP) vehicle for business support. In London the LEAP is chaired by the Mayor of London, and it was established to bring together public and private sectors partners to promote, coordinate and deliver local business support and provide a mechanism for integrating national and local business support, so it is easy for businesses to access.

The London Business Hub brings together all information related to business support in one place. It is a non-biased service that includes support provided by third parties, such as other authorities, enterprise agencies, private-sector organisations and others. We provide free support and programmes to London-based small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). It operates primarily through business advisors located across five locations in London and its online platform.

Becoming a partner of IGL particularly now, as we our grappling the impact of a worldwide pandemic is incredibly important. We want to learn from others, make connections with other forward thinking organisations, and ensure that as much of our activity as possible has gone through a rigorous planning process with evaluation at its core.

Canada is a nation of Innovators, and Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED)’s mission is to work with our innovation leaders to foster a growing, competitive and knowledge-based Canadian economy.  We live out our mission by supporting Canadian businesses from coast-to-coast-to-coast to think and act globally, grow, and take on risk all within a framework of policies designed to improve the competitive intensity and sustainable growth of the Canadian industrial sector.  We partner with leading-edge researchers and Canadian companies to enhance innovation performance through the adoption and commercialization of new technologies, and collaborate with industry on issues that advance Canada's long-term competitiveness and economic growth.


ENISA is Spain's funding agency for startups and SMEs. A State-owned enterprise owned by the Spanish Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism, ENISA’s main mission is to support viable and innovative projects led by Spanish entrepreneurs or SMEs, by helping them find the necessary funding to develop and compete in a global market. In 2019 ENISA’s  investment portfolio reached €1 billion, with more than 6,600 disbursed loans and 5,900 companies financed since the inception of its equity loans programme.

ENISA focuses on promoting a culture of innovative entrepreneurship, actively participating in the Spanish entrepreneurial ecosystem. They are eager to share lessons on innovation as a partner of IGL. Their efforts aim to strengthen Spanish companies by making them more competitive, sustainable and ready to export. ENISA takes into account different ways of supporting sustainable projects, making sure no one is left out.


The vision of the DesignSingapore Council (Dsg) is for design to differentiate Singapore from global competition. As the national agency for design, Dsg’s mission is to develop the design sector, and to help Singapore use design for innovation and growth, as well as to make life better. The Council is physically based at the National Design Centre, which supports our efforts to enhance the vibrancy of the design ecosystem as well as catalyse industry collaborations and business opportunities for innovation and growth. Singapore was designated a UNESCO Creative City of Design in December 2015. This designation supports the development of a creative culture and eco-system in Singapore that fully integrates design and creativity into everyday life. It also enables Singapore to collaborate internationally with the cities of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

Dsg’s participation as partner of Nesta's Innovation Growth Lab will allow us to better evaluate and track the impact of our programmes. Through IGL’s robust methodologies, we aim to discover insights that will lead to better programme design, more impactful implementation, and more compiling narratives with strong proof points and evidence. Becoming a partner also means opportunities for knowledge sharing and exchange through different platforms, as well as for building our own internal capabilities in the long run.

The Australian Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources is an enabler of growth and productivity for globally competitive industries in Australia. The department fulfills this vision by supporting science and innovation to deliver better scientific and economic outcomes for Australia, building capability, growing investment and streamlining regulation.

The department’s engagement with Nesta’s Innovation Growth Lab will increase understanding and help to quantify the impacts generated by measures designed to encourage innovation, entrepreneurship and business growth. The knowledge and expertise that will be shared through international collaboration also presents opportunities for the department to enhance the evidence base available to policy makers in Australia. The department perceives additional value in partnering in the Innovation Growth Lab due to the inclusive nature of the Innovation Growth Lab’s Steering Board, which will allow the department to influence the forward agenda to ensure the material remains relevant to the Australian policy context.

The Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) is the national funding agency for industrial research and innovation in Austria. Our target groups are companies, RTOs and Universities. The Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) offers advice, support and funding for research and innovation projects. In this way, the FFG plays an important role in achieving aims, both research and political, defined by Austria and the European Union.

Our participation in Nesta's Innovation Growth Lab will enable us to improve our expertise in the design and the implementation of  experiments and randomised control trials. We expect to create strong evidence for the effects of our programmes and activities by collecting robust empirical data. Exchanging ideas on the application of experiments in innovation policy with experts and other funding agencies is a great opportunity that will help us shape our funding portfolio and our implementation processes into new and promising directions.

Innovate UK is the new name for the Technology Strategy Board – we’re the UK’s innovation agency, accelerating sustainable economic growth.  Innovators whether small, medium or large, see the world as full of problems  - they have the ideas and talents to fix society’s challenges. We know that taking a new idea to market is a challenge. We fund, support and connect innovative businesses through a unique mix of people and programmes to accelerate sustainable economic growth.

Innovate UK is committed to using robust evaluation techniques to improve our understanding of the impact of our work. Partnering with the Innovation Growth Lab is an exciting opportunity to extend the use of rigorous - but challenging - experimental techniques to understand what support works best for businesses when they are innovating, working with leading academics and institutions around the world. 

Innovation Norway is the Norwegian state and counties' key instrument to achieve both private and socio-economic profitable business and industry development, working to increase the numbers of good entrepreneurs, companies with growth potential, and innovative business clusters. With a regional presence both in Norway and abroad, Innovation Norway is uniquely positioned to generate profitable business development and value added based on the regions' various preconditions and to release the opportunities within business and industry.
Innovation Norway definitely sees the need for access to a global network of both agencies and researchers, and believes cooperation and mutual learning will improve our own innovation capabilities and the impact from our portfolio of services to business and industry. We have continuously been asking independent researchers to evaluate our programs and services, and in recent years we even have conducted impact analysis within a quasi-experimental design by Statistics Norway. Now we are ready to experiment even more, and learn from randomised experiments to improve our own performance, develop our service portfolio, and professionalize our policy advices within the broad area of innovation

The UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is the department for economic growth. BEIS aims to promote trade, boost innovation, help people to start and grow a business, and help both individuals and businesses to invest in skills and education. It also protects consumers and reduces the impact of regulation. We are strongly committed to using robust evidence to support the development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of our policies.

As the Department for growth we are delighted to partner in the Innovation Growth Lab. Partnering in this exciting new venture reflects our desire to develop and extend the evidence base in innovation and enterprise, and our recognition of the importance of experimental evidence to help us understand what works and what doesn’t. It will also help us to improve and extend our connections with the research community, sharing findings and best practice with our IGL partners, higher education institutions, and other experts in innovation and enterprise.