Sharing innovation ideas as social distancing kicks business networking into next year


Until Covid-19 put the kybosh on all physical business networking, Worcestershire Innovation (WINN) held probably the most enjoyable business information and networking events anywhere across the region.

WINN Wednesday was WINN’s networking channel, providing a link to and for innovation communities, providing avenues for assistance, mentoring and financial, for people and businesses.

Led by its vivacious project manager Jess Antley, every event included presentations by successful entrepreneurs willing to share their stories of bringing ideas to life and commercialising them.

WINN is a unique initiative that helps bring the ideas of Worcestershire entrepreneurs and businesses to life and commercialise them. It aims to consolidate the county’s innovation support activities, creating a community of innovators who can collectively inspire each other and give hope and confidence to those who have an idea, but don’t know whether it’s commercially viable, or how to make it so.

But Covid-19 can’t keep the team behind WINN down and the network is continuing its support role for businesses and entrepreneurs.

The WINN innovation platform has launched a new “In Conversation with” section talking to local experts about all things business related and they have had some surprising answers.

Most recently they spoke to Michael Lamb, the man behind Syentium Ltd, a Worcester-based company specialising in the development and application of trainable artificial intelligence and machine learning applications for security services, government agencies, aviation, rail, fast parcel, maritime, cross-border, shopping mall and public space protection.
Syentium trainable software automatically detects contraband and illegally trafficked protected species for cross border security services and government agencies. The company’s technology has attracted the interest of Interpol and Europol thanks to its ability to detect illegal meat imports.

Zoonotic diseases (an infectious disease caused by a pathogen, such as Covid-19) can be carried by illegal meat. It is thought that thousands of tonnes of illegally imported meat are smuggled into Britain each year.

If the meat can be detected, Syentium can warn the authorities so that they can take immediate action.

WINN doesn’t just highlight the county’s entrepreneurs and ideas, it also has grant funding available.

Worcestershire ‘Proof of Concept’ (POC) is an ERDF grant fund to support local businesses up to the level of £30,000 to develop innovative new products and processes. Support is offered to applicants that aim to investigate, advance, protect and commercialise early stage innovative business ideas. The principal objective of the Proof of Concept fund is to encourage SME investment in innovation, specifically; creating products and services that are new to the company or new to the market.