West of England backs business R&D and new jobs with £6.7 million investment

West of England Innovation image

As part of its plans for regional recovery, the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) is investing £6.7 million to support businesses to get their new ideas off the drawing board and into reality. This will be used to help businesses innovate, adapting and creating new products and services to reach new customers.

Programmes supported by the fund include:

  • An extension of the successful Business Innovation Fund (BIF) – providing 25 new grants of up to £50,000 to bring new products, services and processes to market
  • Support for businesses to improve their technological and digital capabilities through equipment grants and training
  • Funding for collaborative Research and Development projects responding to important challenges, for example in health, climate change or social care
  • Support to develop protection of Intellectual Property (IP) helping businesses gain competitive advantage

West of England Mayor Tim Bowles said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has brought into sharp focus the need to innovate and adapt the way we live and do business.  This investment will make sure that our innovative companies get the support they need to not only to come through the challenges presented by Covid-19 but to find new ways of doing things, seize opportunities and create the well-paid jobs of the future.

“As the world changes around us, I am making sure our region stays ahead of the curve, embracing new technology, creating a stronger economy and a better place to live and work for all.”

This programme is part of the West of England Recovery Taskforce’s regional action plan to help the region build back better, greener and stronger from the impact of Covid-19.

WECA has previously allocated £9.4 million to deliver the West of England Recovery Plan – this is in addition to the £100 million investment already committed to businesses and skills over the next four years. This includes business support, skills and employment initiatives.

Sammy Payne, Regional Recovery Taskforce member said: “Innovation is vital for the region’s recovery. This funding will help businesses to adapt and build resilience for the future giving them the support they need to take advantage of new opportunities and turn new ideas into reality.”

Last week the Combined Authority joined forces with partners across the region to launch the Together West of England campaign, connecting businesses with the support and guidance they need to adapt, build resilience and prepare for the future.