New support service for high tech companies announced

Coventry-based programme will allow entrepreneurial ideas to flourish.

Fledgling tech businesses in Coventry and Warwickshire and the West Midlands have received a boost with the launch of a new free of charge support service at Coventry University Technology Park.

The West Midlands Incubation Programme, a two-year project led by Coventry University Enterprises (the University’s commercial offshoot) and funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), offers dedicated, intense, business support to new and emerging high-tech companies in the region. The programme opens with an official launch event Tuesday 26th November at the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry.

Drawing upon the academic and research skills, business acumen and technical expertise of staff at Coventry University, and making use of an array of specialist equipment, the West Midlands Incubation Programme is designed to provide in-depth strategic guidance and support to high-tech businesses in the early stages of their development.

The incubation programme is open to local entrepreneurs and Small and Medium Size Enterprises (SMEs) focusing on technological innovation – specifically those developing ideas in areas deemed priority for the region such as medical, transport, building and environmental technologies, ICT and New Media and Business and Professional Services.

The West Midlands incubation programme will provide potential technological start-ups with:

•access to University equipment and technological/academic expertise that would otherwise be inaccessible;
• potential to progress from initial start up stages of support to a formal technology park support network;
• intense coaching and mentoring support to increase capacity to conduct applied business planning, market research and testing collaboratively;
• a support hub/incubator space where start-ups can facilitate open innovation through the development of new collaborations and networking between other businesses and other university partners;
• workshops and seminars providing business enterprise training for start-ups;
• growth development planning to help businesses to access new funding streams.

Start-ups that successfully make it onto the programme will be guided on all aspects of launching a business from feasibility and finance, planning and prototype testing, copyright issues and company law through to marketing and public relations, sales strategies and tactics for maximising future growth.

Frank Mills, Executive Chairman of Coventry University Enterprises Limited, said: “The West Midlands incubation programme is intended to help new businesses get off the ground and then flourish and prosper in the long-term. Participants will receive intensive support, tailored towards their particular needs and with access to our academic experts, industry contacts and first-rate facilities they’ll be in a great position to build a successful, sustainable business.

“Through this programme we’re giving a boost to forward thinking entrepreneurs, supporting our local economy and cementing our region’s growing reputation as a centre of technological innovation and excellence. “

Norman Price, Deputy Chair of the West Midlands ERDF Local Management Committee added: “Hands on support for new businesses is vital – especially if we want to help businesses to survive, grow and provide opportunities for local people. Over the next two years individuals from Coventry and Warwickshire and the wider West Midlands region with a technological and innovative business idea will be able to access expertise and high tech equipment at Coventry University. This programme of real detailed help not just distant generic advice provides the best approach to deliver the ambition.”