Business Secretary announces new investment in SME clusters to fast track economic growth

By Nick Sheppard

The new investment builds on the success of its £1.25 million investment in London’s media and technology hub Tech City in 2011. The competition attracted over 200 applications from SMEs to work in the digital space in Shoreditch, London, gaining an additional £1.5 million of private sector funding towards 13 projects now at various stages of completion.

In a speech to business leaders today about the Government’s Annual Innovation Report, Business Secretary Vince Cable said:

“The Launchpad initiative is an important driver of innovation. The three new competitions will focus on high-tech sectors where Britain already has the competitive advantage and a world class research base. The investment will help our most innovative SMEs develop new products and services and expand their businesses.”

The proposed Materials and Manufacturing Launchpad will focus on a cluster of companies around Daresbury and Runcorn Heath; the Space and Satellite Technology Launchpad will build on the growing cluster at Harwell, linking to related centres of excellence in the UK, and there will be a series of Launchpads in digital and creative clusters across different parts of the UK.

Iain Gray, Chief Executive of the Technology Strategy Board said:

“This is part of an ongoing programme that will explore cluster support in different areas of the economy, where the UK has world class capabilities and vibrant developing sectors. Particular examples are in motorsports, offshore renewable energy and in healthcare, such as biosciences or digital health technologies.”

Launchpad competitions not only provide SMEs with base funding for research and development projects but support business growth through connections with mentors and expert advisors in the cluster as well as increasing access to the investor community.

In each Launchpad the Technology Strategy Board will be working with a cluster champion – a local partner organisation – to deliver a full package of support to the competition winners and to engage with the cluster as a whole.

For further information about the Tech City Launchpad competition, including a progress update on the winners of the competition please visit: http://www.innovateuk.org/deliveringinnovation/launchpad/tech-city-launchpad-1-progress-update.ashx.

Companies and other organisations seeking information about Technology Strategy Board funding competitions should visit the Competitions page of the Technology Strategy Board website – Competitions page , email competitions@innovateuk.org or phone the Competitions Helpline at 0300 321 4357.

About the author and the Technology Strategy Board

Nick Sheppard is PR for the Technology Strategy Board, the UK’s innovation agency. Its goal is to accelerate economic growth by stimulating and supporting business-led innovation. Sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the Technology Strategy Board brings together business, research and the public sector, supporting and accelerating the development of innovative products and services to meet market needs, tackle major societal challenges and help build the future economy. For more information please visit www.innovateuk.org.

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