Innovation Networks, which has been running successfully since 2003, supports businesses through the provision of funding to assist with the development of new products, processes or services.
Applicants can choose between a capital and a revenue grant of £10,000 to help cover their project costs. The funding is awarded as a contribution towards projects with a minimum planned expenditure of £22,500. The funding is very flexible and has been used to pay toward conducting feasibility studies, developing prototypes, tooling costs, specialist consultancy and the development of a brand image and packaging.
You will need to be working in a “network”, collaborating with two or more other small businesses within the region with the complementary resources and skills you need to develop the idea. The funding is straightforward to apply for and project staff are available to help throughout the application process.
Your project must be truly innovative, resulting in a new product, process or service and provide tangible benefits for the West Midlands economy. You should be able to demonstrate that there is market potential for your idea. All projects are independently evaluated by assessors suitably qualified in the field.
The long running Innovation Networks project is back and open for business with funding to support another 150 SMEs in the West Midlands. The project has already assisted over 300 businesses resulting in new sales in excess of £14m.
The company applying for the funding and leading the project need to be working in collaboration with two or more other small businesses within the region with the complementary resources and skills needed to develop the idea. The £10,000 match funding is very flexible and can be used for both capital and revenue activities. An application is submitted outlining the work to be carried out, highlighting the innovative aspects and demonstrating the market potential. All projects are independently assessed
Tom Warrender has a company based in Wolverhampton called Classroom Medics which runs events in schools to inspire pupils to engage with science and, in particular, to consider from the wide range of lesser known careers available in medicine. Tom and his partners, his business adviser/ mentor and a video production company applied for funding in order to develop a completely new workshop experience. This includes giving attendees an opportunity to perform key-hole surgery (on a very special box of tricks) and take a picture of their own retina on an iPhone. Tom said “The Innovation Networks funding has allowed us to bring forward developments that we had planned for the next 18-24 months so the new programmes will be out in schools sooner. This will make a huge difference to our product line and profitability and make our USP even more unique!”
Shrewsbury based inventor and keen mud runner, Mike Drage, had a Eureka moment when out running one morning. He identified that an alternative was needed to the safety pin, traditionally used to secure numbers to the shirts of runners and other athletes, over a year with the help from one of his partners he developed a new fastening system which would not leave holes in the competitors tops or fingers and could be branded. Mike is now working with his second partner on the marketing to plan the world wide launch of the EventClip. He used the Innovation Networks funding to help pay toward the tooling required to go into production. Mike said “All to often great British world beating inventions never make it to market, with the help from Innovation Network’s funding this concept will become reality”.
WB Timber Innovations in Hampton in Arden are working on developing a new product in conjunction with a project management company and a traditional timber supply company. Their innovation is a high specification timber framed building to be used as an office in the garden, an outside gym or other applications. The innovation is in the modular system and the mechanism that they designed to link the components together as well as the thermal efficiency offered. Director David Himmons commented “The application process was straightforward and help was available to guide us through. Once claimed, payment was made swiftly”.
To find out more about the Innovation Networks project, please visit our website at