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Innovation Awards for Local Businesses and Talented Students Announced at WMG’s Innovation Feast Event

Innovation Feast 2014Leading West Midlands SMEs were at WMG, University of Warwick, for an awards night which recognised Impact and Innovation.

The Innovation Feast took place over two days on the 10th and 11th December with a number of practical workshops and speeches delivered by leading industry figures including the chairman of the Midlands Assembly Network and managing director of PP Electrical Systems Ltd Tony Hague, manufacturing expert Will Stirling, managing director of Coventry based Sprue Safety Products Ltd Nick Rutter, innovation specialist at WMG Dr David Bott and customer engagement pioneers Rant & Rave Ltd. In total 14 companies and six interns were also celebrated for their contribution to economic growth in the West Midlands.

Innovation Feast 2014Birmingham based Barkley Plastics won the Impact award having increased turnover by over £1 million through their collaboration with WMG. The company’s former technical director Maurice Cassidy also won a special recognition award for his contribution to innovation in the West Midlands.

Shropshire brewery Hobsons Brewery & Company Ltd won the Innovation Award. They worked with the WMG SME Team on an innovative project to track casks and their contents using an NFC (Near Field Communication) solution, a smartphone app and cloud database system to do the asset tracking. The prototype is now in use and is being tested with 3,000 barrels.

Dan Beddow, an Engineering student from University of Warwick and Sarah McDougall, a Chemistry student from the University of Central Lancashire were announced joint winners of the Internship Award for the work they undertook at Automotive Insulations in Rugby.

Innovation Feast 2014Other Highly Commended awards went to Hills Numberplates who had worked with WMG on a novel anti-theft product and Benx Group who are collaborating with WMG on an innovative surveying tool using mobile technology.

Dr Mark Swift, Head of SME Programmes at WMG said:

This two day Innovation Feast and awards ceremony is the highlight of a fantastic year, where we celebrate the successes of the West Midlands Small and Medium Sized Enterprise community and the work that has been undertaken by the WMG SME Team at the International Institute for Product and Service Innovation. A number of SMEs have developed some incredible products and services this year and through this event we hope to raise the innovation potential of more SMEs in the region.”