£1m scheme launched to support business innovation

The £1m Innovative Product Support Service (IPSS), part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), runs until 2015 and is open to Small to Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) based in the West Midlands.

The programme is particularly interested in businesses developing environmental, digital, electronic or medical technologies. IPSS offers businesses up to six days of free assistance in areas such as product design, market research, electronics development and intellectual property rights protection.

Delivery of support through the programme will be undertaken by the West Midlands University Consortium, which comprises of Birmingham City University, Coventry University, Keele University, Staffordshire University and the University of Wolverhampton.

As part of the IPSS programme each beneficiary will receive an objective review of their product. For those businesses with a viable proposition, the programme aims to offer assistance regardless of whether it is a concept design model, a review of the IP status of a product or the development of an electronics based prototype.

Professor Andrew Pollard, Director of the IPSS programme, said: “Through the IPSS programme businesses within the West Midlands area will have access to the expertise offered by five universities from across the region.

“I think this is a great opportunity for West Midlands SMEs to get a helping hand in getting their new products to market and will make a real difference to the growth of their businesses.”

Norman Price, Deputy Chair of the West Midlands ERDF Local Management Committee, said: “Supporting businesses to grow and helping to build the innovative culture and competitiveness of the West Midlands are both key priorities for the ERDF Programme. Through this £1 million project, businesses will be able to access specialist expertise and resources from a selection of West Midlands Universities supporting the exploration and development of new products.

“Through such collaborations, we are able to lessen the risks to those businesses looking to take forward new ideas, by making use of experience and skills which exist within our universities. There is also strong evidence that once the relationships with universities are established they flourish over the long term to mutual benefit.”

All businesses interested in receiving support through the IPSS programme should initially contact 01902 321105 or email: ipss@wlv.ac.uk

ENDS

For more information please contact Patrick Campbell in the Media Relations Office on 01902 322448.

Date Issued: Tuesday 9 April 2013

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