Innovation

The Black Country was built on innovation and continues to lead the way. There is plenty of support available to help individuals develop new ideas or help existing businesses improve processes or develop new products.

Every business will own some form of intellectual property, but if you’re unsure about how to protect these assets, the Intellectual Property Office offers a free IP Health Check online tool which can help. The free intellectual property course, IP Equip, is also available to help teach you about intellectual property rights such as trade marks, patents, copyright and designs. More information on Intellectual Property can also be found via the IP Office YouTube channel.

If you have any specific queries relating to IP or any of the innovation support schemes detailed below, contact the Black Country Growth Hub and let us help you to bring your ideas to life.

Innovative Product Support Service

The Innovative Product Support Service (IPSS) programme, part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) supports businesses through the early stages of developing a new product or process.

Businesses will initially receive a two-day review of their proposed product/technology. The results of the review will be used to select businesses with the most viable propositions to undertake a second phase of the programme that offers a further four days of funded support.

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Innovation Vouchers

Eligible small to medium-sized enterprises across the region can apply for an Innovation Voucher, which is worth £2,500 and offers access to external expertise with knowledge base organisations (research institutes) to support an innovation project

You can also access free support in the form of workshops designed to help business become more competitive and manage growth effectively.

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Smart Concept Fund

The Smart Concept Fund offers a ‘Proof of Concept’ grant, designed to support the commercialisation of new technologies. It can award successful applicants a grant of up to £30k at an intervention rate of up to 60% to help fund an approved product development project, subject to eligibility conditions.

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Innovation Networks

Innovation Networks provides support through grants to SMEs who are collaborating with at least 2 other SMEs on the development of an innovative product, process or service.

The grants can cover external development costs, including parts, materials, prototype development, testing, IPR, marketing, machinery tooling etc., or skills that the business is lacking.

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Manufacturing Growth Programme

Manufacturing SMEs looking for support to improve processes can access one-to-one support through the Manufacturing Growth Programme, which is committed to helping you improve what you do, by identifying, understanding and removing barriers to growth.

Ready to take your manufacturing to the next level?

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black country growth hub innovation

Environmental Technologies and Resource Efficiency Support Service (EnTRESS)

EnTRESS supports Black Country SMEs on the adoption of environmental technologies and resource efficiency processes. The project is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund to promote sustainable economic growth.

EnTRESS is part of the University of Wolverhampton's Faculty of Science and Engineering.

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Built Environment Climate change Innovations (BECCI)

The BECCI Project benefits Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the Black Country and Marches LEP areas of the West Midlands, by providing free support in the development of products and services that reduce carbon usage.

This project is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund till December 2018 to promote sustainable economic growth.

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black country growth hub innovation

Product Innovation Accelerator

Are you an ambitious manufacturing SME, based in Coventry & Warwickshire and the Black Country, and seeking to participate more actively in research and development?

Would you like to develop, test and demonstrate new products based on access to leading edge technology and applications?

Are you sitting on great ideas requiring innovation support to bring them to commercial reality?

If yes, to any of these, then the WMG Product Innovation Accelerator project could help you.

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black country growth hub innovation

Focus Digital

This innovation project will support the acceleration to market and/or internal implementation of new products, services and process within the digital media/ICT domain by SMEs across the West Midlands region.

It will provide support to SMEs through a combination of workshops, development support, usability studies and grants.

The project will help160 enterprises to engage and invest in innovation after provision of technical expertise and knowledge, to allow SMEs to take the next step in product development.

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black country growth hub innovation

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships

The Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) scheme helps businesses in the UK to innovate and grow. It does this by linking them with an academic or research organisation and a graduate.

The academic or research organisation partner will help to recruit a suitable graduate, known as an Associate. They will act as the employer of the graduate, who then works at the company for the duration.

The scheme can last between 12 and 36 months, depending on what the project is and the needs of the business.

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black country growth hub innovation

Food Innovation Network

The Food Innovation Network (FIN) is a virtual community of organisations, big and small, all of whom are looking for opportunities, partners, processes and ideas to help them make their food innovation ideas a reality, fuel the growth of their business and form new partnerships. FIN’s aim is to help improve the competitiveness of food and drink businesses right across the supply chain.

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black country growth hub innovation

Corporation Tax: the Patent Box

The Patent Box enables companies to apply a lower rate of Corporation Tax to profits earned after 1 April 2013 from its patented inventions.

Find out how to apply a lower rate of Corporation Tax to profits earned from patented inventions and certain other innovations.

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black country growth hub innovation

KTN - Knowledge Transfer Network

Knowledge Transfer Network is Innovate UK’s network partner and also provides innovation networking for other funders in line with its mission to drive UK growth.

KTN links new ideas and opportunities with expertise, markets and finance through a network of businesses, universities, funders and investors. From agri-food to autonomous systems and from energy to design, KTN combines in-depth knowledge in all sectors with the ability to cross boundaries.

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black country growth hub innovation

AMCASH - Advanced Materials Characterisation & Simulation Hub

The AMCASH project is an ERDF funded initiative established to support small-to-medium sized businesses (SMEs) across four Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEP) areas, Greater Birmingham & Solihull, Black Country, Warwickshire, Coventry and The Marches.

Areas of support include industrial research and New Product Development, across microscopy, polymers and modelling.

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black country growth hub innovation

Design Council Spark

Design Council Spark is a support and funding programme designed to help you turn your bright idea into a commercially successful product..

Since its creation in 2014, Design Council Spark programme has helped more than 100 innovators and entrepreneurs to develop their product ideas, 31 of these have been intensively supported with mentoring, funding and specialist workshops in order to progress to market.

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black country growth hub innovation

Brownfield Research and Innovation Centre (BRIC)

The Brownfield Research and Innovation Centre (BRIC) is a new research centre based at the University of Wolverhampton.

Part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), BRIC offers a bespoke, free of charge support service to Black Country SMEs who require assistance with all aspects surrounding Brownfield remediation and regeneration.

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