West Midlands innovation fund delivers eleven-fold return on investment and brings jobs to region

Central Technology Belt - Birmingham - Worcestershire

An independent evaluation of the Technology Transfer Fund (TTF2) (pdf, 431kb) has underlined the value that the SME support fund has played in regional economic growth.

The fund was launched by Advantage West Midlands in 2005 to assist development of small and medium sized science and technology businesses within the Central Technology Belt, the high technology corridor that follows the A38 from Birmingham, through Worcester, to Malvern. TTF2 offered grants of up to £25,000 to more than 150 local companies.

The report (pdf, 431kb) produced by ekosgen on behalf of Advantage West Midlands found that the TTF2 realised more than £25 million of additional net turnover for the businesses it supported, and also created an additional 47 jobs during the two year project lifespan.

Highlights and key findings from the research are:

  • 155 companies were provided with grants of up to £25,000
  • 60% of the companies assisted came from the advanced materials sector
  • 40% of the companies assisted came from the medical technologies sector
  • 9 out of 10 companies supported by TTF2 identified that the funding had accelerated their development. This highlights the added value of the support that was made available.
  • 72.5% of companies believed that turnover would have been lower without TTF2 support
  • It’s anticipated that a return of £11.10 in GVA for every £1 invested in the scheme will be realised

Mick Laverty, Chief Executive of Advantage West Midlands, acknowledged the ongoing benefits of the TTF programme:

“The effects of the initiative are continuing to be felt, with 31 per cent of businesses assisted now generating revenue as a direct result of receiving TTF2 funding, with a further 50 per cent anticipating doing so within the next six months.

“These are encouraging figures considering the time that has elapsed since the Fund has closed, especially in light of the current economic climate.”

Welcoming the research findings, Alan White, Chief Executive of the Central Technology Belt who ran both phases of the TTF funds, said:

“The outcomes of the research reinforce the rationale for ongoing targeted public sector investment in proof of concept and early stage commercialisation activities. An eleven-fold return on investment speaks for itself and demonstrates core value for money.

“The Fund has also facilitated a stronger culture of risk taking. It is clear that TTF2 enabled companies to reduce the aversion to risk, particularly in the development of new ideas and concepts, and overcome the high development costs that are associated with innovation. It is essential that this trend is nurtured and support for innovation is continued on an ongoing basis.”

For further press information regarding the Central Technology Belt, please contact Sue Bown at Severn Communications on 01905 791996 or e-mail her at sue.bown [at] severncom.com.

Download the evaluation report (pdf, 431kb).

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