Creative and cyber innovators win funding to stimulate UK growth

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UK Business Angels Association

01 May 2014

Ten start-ups and SMEs from Greater Manchester’s creative and digital sector have proved their innovation and growth potential and have been rewarded with some £700,000 to help stimulate development of this industry in the UK. The companies won the funding through a Technology Strategy Board Launchpad competition.

Winners of another Launchpad competition – the Severn Valley Cyber Launchpad – are also looking to boost growth in their sector: new techniques to help protect our data from criminals will soon be researched and developed by companies from an emerging cyber security ‘cluster’ in the UK’s Severn Valley.

The winning companies will now have the opportunity to expand their businesses and develop innovative new products and services for the UK.

Getting creative to stimulate UK innovation

Nigel Walker, Head of Access to Finance at the Technology Strategy Board, says of the Greater Manchester Creative and Digital Launchpad competition:

“The aim of this Launchpad is to draw companies, investment and people into the Greater Manchester creative and digital cluster and encourage networking and co-operation.
“Innovative SMEs that might not be able to develop their product without support, will get access to a programme that includes funding for their R&D projects, as we want to help the whole cluster in Manchester to grow.”
Richard Jeffery, Director of the Business Growth Hub, which is supporting this Launchpad competition in conjunction with the Technology Strategy Board, said:
“Today we recognise and congratulate these ten companies whose innovation and ideas have been justly rewarded.
Today we recognise and congratulate these ten companies whose innovation and ideas have been justly rewarded – Richard Jeffery, Director, Business Growth Hub
“We will now go on to work with the winning companies to help them develop their ideas and to prepare for further investment and, just as importantly, we will also be continuing to work with all of the companies that entered this competition, to make sure that they are able to access the funding and specialist support services that will support and drive their future growth.”
The winners will have up to 60% of their product or service funded by the Launchpad programme.
The companies will continue to work with the Business Growth Hub, which has been supporting the growth of all of the entering businesses through business support and connections with growth advisors, as well as increasing access to the investor community and support system around Greater Manchester, including Access to Finance, North West Business Angels, the Hub’s Growth and Mentoring teams, UKTI, Creative England, EEN and AXM.
Nick Johnson, Director of one of the winning companies – EventBeat – said:
“The Technology Strategy Board has presented us with a huge opportunity as we strive to become recognised globally as market leaders in Social Signage technology.
“This project funding will enable us to develop a ‘self-service platform’ to deliver a scalable solution to a mass market.
“We are extremely excited at the prospect of the next eight months, as we undertake our project which will look to grow our business, both within the Manchester community and to a global audience.”
Cyber security innovators win funding to increase global data protection
93% of large corporations and 87% of small businesses reported a cyber breach in the past year, according to the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS), making the need for cyber innovation as high as ever.
In the latest search for cyber security innovators, the winning companies have been awarded a total of £500,000 through the Launchpad competition, along with business support to progress their projects and accelerate the economic growth of the winning companies, and the cluster as a whole.
The Severn Valley cluster is an emerging cyber security hotspot of innovative companies, with 14% of the UK’s cyber security companies located within the area. The cluster runs through Malvern, Cheltenham, Gloucester and Bristol, and across to Newport and Cardiff.
Universities and Science Minister, David Willetts, said:
“Today, countries that can manage cyber security risks have a clear competitive advantage.
“These innovative companies, backed by government investment, will ensure the UK has the technology we need to protect our data and take full advantage of this growth industry.”
Iain Gray, the Technology Strategy Board’s chief executive, said:
“Cyber security technologies are emerging all over the UK, to meet the demand for network and data protection. As one of the most buoyant and fastest growing segments of the IT industry, it is essential we help to facilitate its growth and development.
“Networking, clustering and knowledge sharing are essential to the success of cyber security industries, and concentrations of expertise can achieve much more than isolated companies.
“The winners of this Launchpad are pushing the boundaries of innovation within this important market and by providing the winners with the necessary support, connections and expertise, we will help take these projects to commercialisation.”
Winners of the Severn Valley Cyber Launchpad competition include a company developing a password security system, based on visuals instead of text; and a developer implementing a new digital fingerprinting project that protects a company’s intellectual property and source code, both of which have become a valuable target for cyber criminals.
Launchpads are a ‘shop window’ to attract potential investors, and help technology-themed clusters of young, early-stage companies to develop and grow in specific locations around the UK. They act as a catalyst for companies with exciting and innovative projects to share knowledge, develop their entrepreneurial skills and attract further investment to bring their ideas to market.
The companies will now also benefit from support activities to develop their businesses and will be showcased to external investors in order to access additional funding.

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