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Innovation and growth on the agenda

West Midlands SMEs and start-ups can take their business to the next level with an upcoming event about innovation and growth 

“Collaborate to Innovate” is a free event to help business innovate and grow, and SMEs and start-ups are invited to attend on Tuesday November 12 at Level 25, The Cube, in Birmingham. 

The day will be packed with practical information and support for SMEs and start-ups to make the most of innovation and growth opportunities and take their businesses to the next level.

The morning will highlight the meaning and the value of businesinnovation and the link between innovation, collaboration and growth. A panel of business, public and private finance experts will be talking about the key attributes of a successful and fundable business.

Attendees will also hear from innovative local businesses, and find out about upcoming funding opportunities (especially in the sectors particularly relevant to the West Midlands economy: manufacturing and smart mobility, health, data economy and creative industries).

The afternoon will feature practical workshops including how to write a successful funding application, understanding and defining business innovation and getting the most from local networks and business support partners. 

The event will be opened by Dr Ian Campbell (chief executive of Innovate UK), with keynote address from Sarah Windrum (CEO of the Emerald Group, board member of West Midlands Combined Authority, and board director of Coventry and Warwickshire LEP).

Panel experts will include Jenny Tooth OBE (CEO of UK Business Angels Association), and Peter Dines (COO of Mercia Asset Management Plc). 

Innovate UK sector leads, advisors from the Knowledge Transfer Network and Enterprise Europe Network, and experts from high value manufacturing and energy systems Catapults will be on hand to discuss funding priorities, programmes and available support.

Representatives from West Midlands-based companies will talk about the support and funding they received and how it helped their businesses grow. This event is a unique opportunity to engage with key public and private funding and support organisations in the West Midlands - all in one room on the day.

This is an event organised by Innovate UK, The UK National Innovation Agency, in cooperation with key national organisations, and regional and local investors and business support networks, including Knowledge Transfer Network, Europe Enterprise Network, UK Business Angels Association, Mercia Asset Management PLC, the Catapult CentresInnovation Alliance West Midlands and the local Growth Hubs in the West Midlands.

Ewa Bloch, regional manager West Midlands at Innovate UK, said: “No business exists in a silo - cooperation is a natural, often intuitive and serendipitous process that all businesses go through. Collaboration stimulates innovation - we want to demystify innovation, show examples of local businesses that developed a new way of working with a supply chain, new technology, manufacturing process or a product.

"This event is the perfect opportunity to understand what your business needs to grow and to be competitive - you will learn what funders and investors are looking for, what support is available to connect you to the right partners, and what funding there is for collaboration, innovation and growth."

Pam Waddell, director at Innovation Alliance for the West Midlands, said: “The Innovation Alliance for the West Midlands is delighted to be involved with this event because we are all about connecting innovators around the West Midlands and building collaborations.

"The event will showcase and connect SMEs to a wide range of regional and national support to assist them in developing, protecting and commercialising innovative products and services to grow their businesses.

"Collaborate to Innovate will also showcase local networks which enable SMEs to connect with and learn from peers and keep up with relevant markets developments, events and opportunities.  This is a rare opportunity for SMEs to learn so much, from so many in one day about support for the business of innovation.”

To sign up, visihttp://bit.ly/collaboratetoinnovate

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