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New WMG programme offers free innovation support to West Midlands SMEs

A new innovation support programme aimed at helping small business growth has been launched by the SME team at WMG, University of Warwick. They have recently been awarded ERDF funding to offer two free days of innovation support to West Midlands SMEs, through a new Innovation Programme, which is designed to help SMEs transform existing products and services and launch new products and services that are market leading and able to adapt to changing market needs.

The Innovation Programme , operating from the brand new International Institute for Product and Service Innovation, is designed to provide SMEs with three core benefits – a better understanding of their customers to develop product and service design capability that responds better to customer emotion and behaviour; knowledge of the latest apps and digital tools for better managing processes related to new product and service development ; and understanding of how the latest materials technology can be applied to their products.

lord_bhattacharyya.jpgWMG Chairman Professor Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya said:

"It is more important than ever to innovate and stay ahead of the competition. This is even more of a challenge for the many small and medium sized companies which taken together are significant employers in our region and form key parts of many supply chains. I am delighted that we have been able to find resources that will allow us to offer free innovation support to those companies”

Through the delivery of the Innovation Programme over 200 jobs will be either created or safeguarded within SMEs in the West Midlands.

The WMG SME team are offering a free day to 50 West Midlands SMEs on 25th October, where they will deliver a one day interactive programme presenting the latest thinking on subjects such as low volume manufacturing, advanced materials, smarter social media, design for emotion, digital tools and technologies to support effective product and service development. This will include hearing from experts about case studies on SMEs that have already worked with WMG to help meet their innovation needs such as:

  • Barkley Plastics, a plastic injection moulding, assembly and toolmaking company based in Birmingham that has been working with the WMG SME Team’s Polymer Innovation experts on a number of different projects. The company has used optical microscopy testing to assess the validity of their patented in mould welding and they have used WMG’s Additive Layer Manufacturing facilities to create prototypes for a revolutionary finger held razor. The on-going support is likely to generate over 10 new jobs for the company and over £3 million in sales.
  • Digital Native Academy, a digital consultancy based in West Bromwich who has been working with all three of the WMG SME Team’s expertise groups to develop an innovative museum experience to engage younger audiences in a Midlands museum
  • Specialist recycling company Boomerang Plastics who have been working with the WMG SME team to explore opportunities for the re-use of a well-known yoghurt manufacturer's plastic pots
  • Strand Hardware who needed a Bespoke Google Apps solution works to optimise sales team activity

SMEs attending the event will be offered a second full free day of innovation support tailored to their particular needs and may be able to access further support beyond that.

West Midlands SMEs can register for the free event on October 25th at:,ZBRZ,3FZEKL,2YW7Q,1

For further information please contact:

Peter Dunn, email:
Head of Communications, Communications Office, University House, University of Warwick,
Tel: 024 76 523708 Mobile 07767 655860

Lisa Barwick, WMG, University of Warwick Tel: 024 76 524721 or 07824 540845

PR172 10th October 2012