£240,000 of innovation vouchers for SMEs tours Midlands on the bus


A SME business innovation lottery scheme, brokered by Aston University, which offers companies £3000 worth of academic input to improve their business, will be taking to the road in a bid to encourage more businesses to take part in its next round of funding. The bus is being funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Festival of Social Science 2008. The project is funded principally by Advantage West Midlands, European Research Development Fund( ERDF), (ESRC) and the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC).

The INDEX (INnovation Delivers Expansion) project has already delivered £120,000 of innovation to more than 40 SME businesses across the region and has allocated £300,000 to a further 100 companies is set to award another £240,000 to 80 more in April. For more information about how to apply see www.indexvouchers.org

A team of INDEX advisors will board the special ‘festival of social science’ red bus on March 13th and 14th March. They will be touring science parks across the region talking to businesses about how to apply for a voucher and giving examples of how the input of high level academic thinking can help innovation and business expansion., INDEX provides academic expertise from any of the region’s 13 higher education establishments, which can include many specialist areas of science, engineering or business.

Dr Judy Scully said “The project has already developed some fantastic links between businesses and the universities, and that is what INDEX is all about. Making companies realise that the universities are able to provide a wealth of expertise for business. There has already been innovation across a very diverse range of projects. This trip on the red bus aims to make as many businesses as possible aware that they are able to apply for an INDEX voucher. The procedure begins with a simple online application, with nothing more arduous than contact details and a brief outline of the innovation your company would like to explore and the type of academic expertise required.

Employable Graduates; Exploitable Research