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Aston Science Park, Birmingham, United Kingdom, 2007/03/28 - A grant scheme to encourage innovation in small and medium sized companies in the West Midlands, which has created more than 400 jobs since 2002, has been extended for a further 12 months.
The Innovation Network programme is funded by Advantage West Midlands and the European Regional Development Fund.
Since it was launched in 2002, Innovation Networks has supported 500 companies, creating 429 jobs and safeguarding a further 860 jobs.
The programme provides grants of up to £15,000 to groups of at least three companies who are collaborating on the development of an innovative product, process or service.
Revenue grants are available for expenditure and staff costs on projects where budgets are more than £26,000 or capital grants are available for equipment, machinery or tooling.
Gill Roberts, Innovation Networks manager at Advantage West Midlands, said: “Research shows that companies that innovate are 80 per cent more profitable, however not all companies have the skills and money needed to turn ideas into marketable products and services.
“Innovation Networks has a successful track record in encouraging groups of companies to work together to make ideas become reality, making companies more profitable and creating jobs.
“This extension means we will be able to work with even more companies and help bring even more products and services from the drawing board to the market.”
Dr Phil Extance, Advantage West Midlands Director for Innovation at Advantage West Midlands, said: “Innovation is one of the key challenges that Worcestershire faces and encouraging companies of all sizes to develop new products and ideas is a key priority.
“Innovation Networks has been an excellent way of encouraging collaboration and innovation among SMEs.
“The grants are quick and easy to apply for and I would urge any companies interested to get in touch as soon as possible.”