Three Durham-based organizations are working together to spur innovation after receiving £820,000 in funding.
Business Durham, the business support service of Durham County Council, the Center for Process Innovation (CPI) and Durham University will support the development of innovative businesses in key sectors such as science, technology and space.
The Emerging Markets Innovation Accelerator project focuses on supporting County Durham SMEs, university spin-offs and potential start-ups.
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Key elements of the project include support to SMEs in the development and market positioning of new and improved products and advanced materials, which is provided by CPI. Companies will benefit from access to specialist equipment and facilities at the North East Technology Park (NETPark) in Sedgefield, as well as CPI’s expertise in product development, prototyping, optimization, modeling costs and marketing assistance.
To encourage the development of university spin-outs, Durham University offers a targeted PhD Entrepreneurship Program to support its PhD students with a bespoke entrepreneurship training program focusing on the commercialization of cutting-edge technologies.
And Business Durham runs a diversification support program for companies looking to explore new emerging markets, including support for companies looking to seize opportunities in the space and satellite sector.
The project also helps to map the skills needs of these emerging sectors and explore the development of innovative solutions to meet these needs by working with regional partners and building on what is already available to support skills development. .
An important outcome of this collaborative project using money from the UK Government’s Community Renewal Fund (CRF) will also be the development of innovation action plans aligned with emerging markets in which County Durham has identified potential. of growth, including net zero heat, fintech, space and advanced materials.
This will provide a blueprint from which CPI, Durham University and Business Durham can together drive ambition and raise the profile of the county’s innovation capacity, as well as help position County Durham for future funding. for this important work.
Sarah Slaven, Managing Director of Business Durham, said: “We are delighted to be working with CPI and Durham University as we all have a strong track record of delivering projects and working in partnership, including delivering success of previous innovation support projects.
“With new and emerging markets comes a demand for an innovative workforce that can rise to the challenge. This project therefore aims to maximize the opportunities for companies and individuals in these fast-growing sectors.
“Together we are committed to building on the existing strengths of County Durham, and the CRF funding will allow us to further develop and promote the specialist equipment and capabilities present at NETPark in Sedgefield, which is a key growth area. for our local economy.
Jenny Taylor, Head of Economic Development at Durham University, added: “Working together to inspire more businesses to innovate, we continue to create vibrant and collaborative ecosystems, bridging the gap between academic research and practice. industry in County Durham.”