Making the invisible visible: matching West Midlands ICT SMEs with business opportunities

West Midlands ICT Cluster AWMistThis is a guest post written by Brian Prangle with contributions from Andrew Mackenzie.

West Midlands Regional Development Agency, Advantage West  Midlands (AWM) has unveiled its latest initiative to stimulate and develop the high technology sector.

AWMist (A Web Map-based Information Search Tool) is the first regional interface of its kind where collaboration, business opportunity building, and partnerships can be easily forged between the region’s ICT SMEs (Small to Medium Enterprises) and those who can support and assist them, such as funding agencies, universities and business support projects.

A major challenge  for the West Midlands’ ICT industry is that the excellent innovation and entrepreneurship present in the region is represented by small companies below the radar of many large organisations. Matching a SME with a business opportunity is difficult and time-consuming, with no one place to quickly search and find a partner or solution provider.

Mike Musson, the ICT Cluster Manager for AWM said:

‘With AWMist we will be taking a large step forward to exhibiting the breadth and depth of ICT skill and innovation in the West Midlands, which is traditionally associated with manufacturing rather than the knowledge economy. We will be making the invisible visible. Such is the enthusiasm for AWMist that other regional clusters are joining including Digital Media, Photonics, Electronics and Medical Technologies.’

Mike Musson, West Midlands ICT Cluster Manager

Advantage West Midlands chose OpenStreetMap (OSM) as its base map for AWMist, which was a breakthrough for OSM.

The application was developed by leading OSM contributor Frederik Ramm’s company Geofabrik,  in intense competition with companies offering more traditional map solutions.

Screenshot of AWMist.org (A Web Map-based Information Search Tool)
Screenshot: www.awmist.org

AWM chose OSM for its open commercial terms and lack of technical restrictions when compared to rival map providers.

The fact that the data for the West Midlands was collected and maintained locally was also a factor in the decision. The activities of local mappers in quickly reflecting changes to produce a dynamic map also weighed in OSM’s favour.

AWMist is released now to the region’s ICT businesses for population with data of their choice to maximise their attraction for business partners and will go live to the world in January 2010.

Participating businesses and agencies will have multiple levels of viewing and editing for company profiles and contacts, and will be able to search and filter according to the nature of the opportunity. A restricted view only mode will be available for those outside the West Midlands and the AWM ICT cluster .

AWM aim to grow the population of participating businesses and organisations to a European-wide audience. AWM will be using the tool globally to promote the West Midlands’ ICT businesses.

To preview the site visit www.awmist.org.

This guest post was written by Brian Prangle with contributions from Andrew Mackenzie.

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One Response

  1. […] Making the invisible visible: matching West Midlands ICT SMEs with business opportunities « Ob… – Uses Open Street Map: "AWMist (A Web Map-based Information Search Tool) is the first regional interface of its kind where collaboration, business opportunity building, and partnerships can be easily forged between the regions ICT SMEs (Small to Medium Enterprises) and those who can support and assist them, such as funding agencies, universities and business support projects." […]

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