Getting creative to stimulate UK innovation

Ten start-ups and SMEs from Greater Manchester’s creative and digital sector have proved their innovation and growth potential and been rewarded with some £700,000 to help stimulate development of this industry in the UK.

The companies won the funding through a Technology Strategy Board Launchpad competition, and will now have the opportunity to expand their businesses and develop innovative new products and services for the UK.

Launchpads are a ‘shop window’ to attract potential investors, and help technology-themed clusters of young, early-stage companies to develop and grow in specific locations around the UK. They act as a catalyst for companies with exciting and innovative projects to share knowledge, develop their entrepreneurial skills and attract further investment to bring their ideas to market.

We have set up seven Launchpad competitions so far, with three more to follow in 2014-15.

Nigel Walker, Head of Access to Finance at the Technology Strategy Board, explains:
“The aim of this Launchpad is to draw companies, investment and people into the Greater Manchester creative and digital cluster and encourage networking and co-operation.

“Innovative SMEs that might not be able to develop their product without support, will get access to a programme that includes funding for their R&D projects, as we want to help the whole cluster in Manchester to grow.”

Richard Jeffery, Director of the Business Growth Hub, which is supporting this Launchpad competition in conjunction with the Technology Strategy Board, said:

“Today we recognise and congratulate these ten companies whose innovation and ideas have been justly rewarded.

“We will now go on to work with the winning companies to help them develop their ideas and to prepare for further investment and, just as importantly, we will also be continuing to work with all of the companies that entered this competition, to make sure that they are able to access the funding and specialist support services that will support and drive their future growth.”

The winners will have up to 60% of their product or service funded by the Launchpad programme.

The companies will continue to work with the Business Growth Hub, which has been supporting the growth of all of the entering businesses through business support and connections with growth advisors, as well as increasing access to the investor community and support system around Greater Manchester, including Access to Finance, North West Business Angels, the Hub’s Growth and Mentoring teams, UKTI, Creative England, EEN and AXM.

Nick Johnson, Director of one of the winning companies – EventBeat – said:

“The Technology Strategy Board has presented us with a huge opportunity as we strive to become recognised globally as market leaders in Social Signage technology.

“This project funding will enable us to develop a ‘self-service platform’ to deliver a scalable solution to a mass market.

“We are extremely excited at the prospect of the next eight months, as we undertake our project which will look to grow our business, both within the Manchester community and to a global audience.”

By UKBAA 25 Apr 2014