Hundreds of small to medium-sized companies (SMEs) in the West Midlands have benefitted from a scheme, managed by Aston Business School in Birmingham, which has encouraged them to innovate and grow through the use of vouchers.
The ‘Innovation Vouchers’ project, which has been run over a three-year period in partnership with Birmingham City University, has seen 190 coupons worth up to £2,500 of part-funding handed out to SMEs based in areas covered by local enterprise partnerships in Greater Birmingham and Solihull, the Black Country and the Marches.
On Wednesday 26th June, the success of the Innovation Vouchers scheme was celebrated with 100 businesses at Canalside, The Cube in Birmingham. During the event, there was a short panel discussion, where businesses discussed how the scheme supported their business to innovate and aid business growth. Throughout the course of the evening, there were opportunities for likeminded businesses to network whilst indulging in a 3 course meal provided by the team at Canalside and entertainment from international performers.
Professor Nick Theodorakopoulos, Innovation Vouchers Project Director at Aston Business School, said: ‘I was delighted to see a vibrant community of innovation-minded business owners coming together to celebrate the success of our initiative. Based on the independent evaluation that we received, among various aspects of positive impact, the Innovation Vouchers initiative is expected to create 350 new jobs in the region in the short term. This is great news for our community and policy makers concerned with innovation and entrepreneurship development’.
One of the businesses which has benefitted from the Innovation Vouchers project is Damore.Solution Ltd., based in Shropshire. Lincoln Birch, Managing Director of Damore.Solution Ltd, said: ‘Thank you for the invitation to the event this evening. My thanks and congratulations to all involved for making the innovation voucher process as understandable as possible and such an impactful initiative.’
Another business that has benefitted from the Innovation Vouchers project is Ophthalmology Innovations, based in Solihull. Ramesh Sivaraj, Director of Ophthalmology Innovations, said: ‘Thank you for hosting a spectacular evening on Wednesday 26/6 at The Cube. As a proud recipient of an innovation voucher for the development of my mobile app ‘Pocket Ophthalmology’, I am pleased the ‘Innovation Voucher’ program has benefited many others like myself.’