LORIC: On Our Commitment to Local Companies

LORIC was founded on the principles of open research and innovation. Our belief is that knowledge and expertise should be available to all companies that need it – regardless of company size and turnover.

Until July 2019, our services were available for free to SMEs in Greater Lincolnshire. That service was made possible by the ERDF, and that fund was administered through the Ministry for Housing, Communities, and Local Government. That funding was very welcome and it allowed us to level the playing field for the small companies across Lincolnshire, by making consultancy more accessible. Once our funding ran out, however, we were faced with a dilemma – charge market rates for our services, or come up with a different way to include everyone.

We know what fits into our ethos, which is how our retainer model was born.

The service is basically what it says on the tin: companies pay a certain fee, thus “retaining” our services. Under the model, a client gets 12 hours (or two business days) of work, which they can use any way they see fit – consultancy, digitisation, training, or just general calling us up and moaning about the state of the company spreadsheets. Once that retained time is up, the client gets 10% off all service rates, including digitisation fees, and 20% of all paid-for courses, plus a chance to be featured in our newsletter and our other marketing. The only condition is committing to at least two years of our service, and pay the yearly fee up front.

Who is the retainer model for?

The retainer model is available to all, but as a service, it is expressly designed to keep us accessible for small companies and charities. It’s the sort of offer that works well for:

  • Companies that have very big digitisation projects and would like to save some money on them
  • Companies that aren’t sure how long their project might take
  • Companies that would prefer continuous support throughout the year
  • Charities and small companies that cannot access other support
  • SMEs that have used up their De Minimis/State Aid allowance
  • Large companies that want to contribute to the local economy in meaningful ways

Why do large companies pay a higher retainer?

The idea of the retainer model is to make LORIC services accessible to everyone. The tier is based on employee count and turnover* which basically means that companies pay what they can afford.

By paying a higher fee, a large company enables innovation and growth. Excess money covers the additional costs for charities and small start-ups to access the same service, which is important because it does not skew competition or fairness, and it allows for opportunities to remain equally distributed.

Why would you not go for the retainer model?

Maybe you don’t know what you want to do. Maybe you’re not sure you want to work with LORIC for the next two years. Maybe you don’t think your project will take more than a day, or you just want us to do some training for you.

That’s all great! We’d love to hear from you as well.

The point of the retainer is to make sure there is something for everyone.

What’s the bottom line?

LORIC was founded on the values of open innovation and research, and we would like to continue this ethos into the future. We believe in transparency and fairness of competition. We also want to help small business and charities in any way we can.

Would you like to learn more? Drop us a line, or pop in for a chat – your first consultation is free.

*per the European Commission, an SME is:

Company categoryStaff headcountTurnoverorBalance sheet total
Medium-sized< 250≤ € 50 m≤ € 43 m
Small< 50≤ € 10 m≤ € 10 m
Micro< 10≤ € 2 m≤ € 2 m

If in doubt, the European Commission has also prepared a self-assessment tool that companies may fill out to see if they qualify as an SME.

5th November 2019