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£2m boost for Welsh SMEs to develop tailor made solutions for challenges facing the public sector

This press release was published under the 2011 - 2016 Welsh government

Welsh innovators are being offered a share of funding through a new Dragons Den-style competition to encourage strategic solutions to some of the trickiest challenges facing the public sector in Wales today.
Friday 04 December 2015

The new Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) Innovation Accelerator programme – which is backed by over £2m from the Welsh Government - will launch a series of competitions next year in collaboration with InnovateUK when SMEs can bid for R&D funding to develop technology-driven solutions for specific challenges facing the public sector.

Projects will run for up to 2 years with initial funding of typically up to £100,000 available for successful companies to help test their ideas to see if they are feasible. Companies then have an opportunity to win further contracts worth up to £1million or more to develop and commercialise their ideas.

The aim is to encourage the Welsh public sector to be more innovative in procurement - funding R&D and Innovation to solve a public sector challenge – while opening up a range of business opportunities for SMEs.

The call is open to public sector organisations throughout Wales to identify challenges facing their organisations and to come forward now with potential SBRI competition ideas.

A briefing session for the new round takes place on Tuesday December 8 at the Life Sciences Hub, Cardiff Bay  to provide information about the support available through the SBRI Accelerator and to explore how challenges organisations are facing might be pursued through an SBRI route.

Economy Minister Edwina Hart said:

"The Small Business Research Initiative has shown how the public and private sector can work together to tackle societal challenges in innovative ways and deliver benefit to both public sector bodies and industry

“I am particularly pleased it is encouraging SMEs to become involved with the public sector procurement process which opens up a range of opportunities for companies to access R&D funding to develop tailor made solutions and to commercialise those solutions.”

The Innovation Accelerator builds on the success of the earlier SBRI Catalyst Programme and will scale up to larger, high impact challenges which are of strategic importance to the Welsh economy.

The SBRI Catalyst Programme, which was cited as an example of best practice by InnovateUK, has seen Welsh businesses win more than £1.5m to date in new R&D contracts delivering innovative feasibility and demonstrator projects to Welsh public sector organisations.

Ten competitions were launched over the past two years across a number of themes and topics. The challenges ranged from reducing the number of motorcyclists killed or injured every year to finding ways to enable nurses to spend 10% more time caring for patients.



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Business and economy 04 December 2015 Economy Mid Wales North Wales South East Wales South West Wales

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