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Final call for North West SMEs to benefit from eco-innovative support

Businesses across the North West have a final opportunity to tap into the region’s eco-innovation programme, funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

The Centre for Global Eco-Innovation project brings together the expertise, resources and global contacts of Lancaster University and the University of Liverpool, along with innovation and commercialisation consultancy Inventya.

The aim is to support ‘eco-innovative’ SMEs developing new products, processes or services for the global marketplace which deliver positive environmental impacts.

Dr Martin Andrews, project manager at the centre, said: “Our aim at the centre is to link university research and development expertise with innovative companies, to boost their eco credentials and ultimately to have a positive impact on the environment. Businesses which innovate in an environmentally sensitive way frequently grow faster than their competitors so we are supporting growth and saving green house gases.

“We’ve helped 250 businesses to date, including a Lancaster University PhD project developing a new environmentally friendly de-icer treatment for planes and a company working on advanced controllers for wind turbines. Others have included smart city mobile application development and technology for sustainable housing.”

Interested SMEs have until September 2015 to apply to get involved in the project, which includes business support from Inventya such as market research and support with applications for Innovation Vouchers. Opportunities for one month summer internships from the University of Liverpool and Lancaster University are also available.

Knowsley-based Elixir Group is an environmental recycling company which saw business increase by ten per cent as a result of placing a University of Liverpool student to design a revolutionary new WEEE recycling line for LCD screens. Similarly, Liverpool eco start up Farm Urban welcomed a University of Liverpool graduate on an internship to further develop its ‘Aquaponics’ technology – a technique which turns fish waste into a fertiliser for plants. One of the projects included a rooftop farm at the Liverpool Guild of Students.

Dr Andrews added: “The global market for green products is set to double this year to $2 trillion and eco-innovative businesses across the North West will play an important role in helping to deliver this. The North West actually has the largest number of people employed in the low carbon sector as a whole and these businesses should be nurtured.”

By the end of the programme, the centre aims to achieve significant environmental impacts including preventing 27,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions and diverting 55,000 tonnes of waste from landfill.

The centre is running two free events for businesses on the topic of ‘Innovation and collaboration for small businesses: funding, financing and intellectual property.’ The first will be at the Rheged Centre in Penrith, Cumbria on June 4th and the second will be at the Haydock Thistle, Haydock on June 9th.

For more details and to register, contact Dr Martin Andrews on 01925 607194 or email m.andrews@inventya.com

Fri 29 May 2015