Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Science Minister fires laser that will spark the birth of new technology firms

Mercia Institute of Enterprise Logo
Mercia Institute of Enterprise Logo

Originally Published 25 January 2001

On Friday 26th January Lord Sainsbury, the Minister for Science and Innovation, will launch a new initiative which has the goal of "spinning out" at least 10 new fast growth technology firms a year from the region's Universities and which will provide "Enterprise training" for all science and engineering students in those universities. He will launch the new Mercia Institute of Enterprise at 11.45am in the University of Warwick's International Manufacturing Centre by switching on a laser from one of the University of Warwick's existing spin out companies, Herfurth Lasers Technology Ltd, which will cut the new institute's logo out of steel.

The new Institute, led by the University of Warwick, has been formed by a consortium of West Midlands universities: Aston, Birmingham, Coventry, Keele, Staffordshire, University of Central England in Birmingham (UCE), Warwick and Wolverhampton, to create revolutionary changes in attitudes to entrepreneurship and business start-up within the region's universities.

The Institute's £10 million 7 year programme will draw on the strengths of two of the regions international renowned 'flagships' in knowledge transfer from academic research and teaching to Industry: the University of Warwick's Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) and the Centre for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (CSME) in Warwick Business School. Funding has come from the Science Enterprise Challenge, and the partner universities. Advantage West Midlands - the Development Agency for the West Midlands Region also strongly supports the creation and development of the Institute, which forms a key element in the Regional Innovation Strategy.

The new Institute will also support a programme of "Enterprise Fellowships" which will provide £10,000 worth of financial support, business, training, mentoring and space in host academic departments for a year to allow those Fellows a chance to develop a business idea to the point of company creation/product launch. There will also be a "New Venture Award" of £20,000 which will be presented to a student or team of students involved in Entrepreneurship training.

The Institute will also help identify exploitable research and provide a unique resource of international best practice, through the international links of the partner universities to help increase the quality of knowledge transfer from universities to businesses.

Note for Editors: There now follows links to two releases on recent spin out companies from the University of Warwick as examples of what the Institute will achieve.

Herfurth Lasers
Warwick Control Technologies

Further information about this press release and other media services at the University of Warwick can be obtained from:

Peter Dunn, Press Officer
University of Warwick
Coventry, CV4 7AL
West Midlands
Tel: 024 76 523708