September 28, 2010 - Anonymous
A £3.8 million programme to provide free support to 300 "innovation-focused" small and medium-sized businesses has been launched in the North West.
Until March 2013, Innovation for Growth will offer training workshops, masterclasses and tailored feedback in four key areas:
The programme, which is supported by Business Link and funded by the European Regional Development Fund and Lancaster University Management School, will also give businesses access to students and staff at the University’s highly-regarded Institute for Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development (IEED).
Firms will be selected for the programme on the basis of recommendations by Business Link Northwest and other support organisations. The programme is open to firms in all sectors except retail, although priority will be given to those operating in the business and professional, advanced engineering, energy, food, digital and biomechanical sectors.
To qualify, firms must be independent enterprises based in the North West, have fewer than 250 employees and less than £45 million turnover, and must not have received more then €200,000 in public funding over the last three years.
"Through Innovation for Growth, the IEED will help us enhance the relationships and sharing of knowledge between business and higher education institutions," said the managing director of Business Link Northwest, Peter Watson. "It’s not intended to be a quick fix, but will embed innovation into the culture of these businesses which will in turn promote better performance, productivity and growth."