West Midlands universities join forces to support SME growth

Uni of WolverhamptonThree West Midlands universities have launched a new joint scheme offering funding to local SMEs to support innovation and growth.

University of Wolverhampton, Birmingham City University and Aston University joined forces to develop the Innovation Voucher Scheme with the aim of helping small businesses pay for new processes and systems in order to improve efficiency and help bring new products to market.

The scheme offers small and medium-sized businesses up to £2500 in funding.
For every £1 a company can put towards innovation and growth, the figure will be matched with a £1 contribution from the voucher project.

This means that eligible businesses are able to access a total fund of £5,000 to use towards gaining external expertise with knowledge-based organisations such as research institutes, developing a new product or process, testing a product or service, managing supply chains and logistics, or developing a new business model.

The funding may also be used for market research, equipment, capital items or software to develop prototypes.

The scheme also offers eligible businesses free business innovation workshops run by leading academics from all three universities. The workshops will provide support and advice on how to manage business innovation and growth effectively, with the aim of encouraging competitiveness in the relevant marketplaces.

Workshops on offer include:

  • Envisioning for growth through innovation
  • Strategy and leadership for innovation
  • Marketing and finance for innovation.

The scheme is open to SMEs until April 2019.

For more information and support for small businesses you can visit our Growth for Small Businesses page.