Black Country and Marches businesses provided the tools to get innovative

the creation of two specialist centres providing support and technology ideas to boost their performance.

The centres will be located at Wolverhampton Science Park and the Telford Campus of the University of Wolverhampton. 450 businesses, that are important to the economic growth of the area, will be identified and get the chance to benefit from the Innovation First project. They will gain access to these two state of the art “hi tech visualisation” centres, where they will be able to see, feel and explore new technological ideas that will help improve their business performance. There will be access to specialist advice at events, and direct assistance on a 1to1 basis, to enable them to take their ideas forward.

The project is supported by over £1.7 million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and matched by investment of the University of Wolverhampton and the private sector. The first Visualisation Centre, at Telford, is due to be completed by the end of July and the second, in Wolverhampton, will be commissioned in the autumn.

Jan Gilder, Director of Project Support from the University of Wolverhampton said: “A recent evaluation carried out on the area highlighted a low level of investment in innovation and new technology by businesses resulting from problems accessing wider specialist support. Lack of awareness of innovation potential and minimal working between businesses and knowledge based organisation, such as the Universities and research organisations, were also areas in need of help.”

“There is an opportunity in the Wolverhampton Telford Technology Corridor to address some of these problems, and Innovation First provides the necessary support, facilities and expertise to do just that.”

Mark Foley, Director of European Programmes at Advantage West Midlands said: “With a high proportion of technology led businesses, the area has the potential to attract, create, grow and diversify new technologies that will strengthen the regions’ economy and with ERDF funding this can be achieved. “Key to this is ensuring that businesses get the support they need and to learn from the extensive research and development work taking place in the region through initiatives such as Science City”.

To find out more about the centres and support available, contact Business Solutions on 01902 321272 or visit www.wolverhamptonbsc.com

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