Thanks to a new programme at Edge Hill University, local enterprises are discovering how their business data can help build and shape new products, services and business models to make them more profitable and grow, through innovation.

Business experts at The Productivity & Innovation Centre (PIC) at Edge Hill are welcoming Lancashire based small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to take part in a unique Innovation Sprint Programme.  The programme originates from Professor Simon Bolton’s work with global organisations, including Procter & Gamble, BSkyB, Nokia and the BBC, to improve the productivity of their innovation practices. The programme has been strategically adapted to ensure effective use and results by SMEs.

The intense programme supports business decision-makers in exploring their innovation opportunity or challenge to unlock key insights, and is fully-funded for eligible Lancashire based SMEs.

Many local SMEs have welcomed the programme of intensive workshops that uses innovation tools and frameworks to thoroughly explore their concept before producing a technically and financially feasible solution.

Mark Schofield, Director-Accountant FCA from Haworths Chartered Accountants, was delighted with the programme and explained, “The support provided us with the tools to enable us to move from a new idea all the way through to detailed implementation. I would wholeheartedly recommend it.”

PIC is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.  The PIC will bring important benefits to the region’s SMEs and help them to grow and adapt to a changing competitive landscape.

Andrew Leeming, Senior Project Officer at Boost, Lancashire’s Business Growth Hub said, “Innovation is a significant function for any business that wants to drive growth and increase profitability.  The PIC offers SMEs a fantastic opportunity to explore a new concept and work with business experts to discover its true value before making a significant investment.”

The PIC has engaged with many SMEs from a diverse range of industries so far including professional and business services, digital, engineering and manufacturing, each with very different innovation concepts to explore. The programme is suitable for any sector including health and Agri-tech.

Professor Simon Bolton is leading the programme and is pleased with the impact it has had so far:

“The SMEs we work with are able to clarify their business objectives, enabling them to shape new feasible products, services and business models. SMEs need to be prepared to navigate the challenges ahead, such as Brexit, and have the processes and ability to rapidly innovate in place to make business decisions with confidence.  The University is committed to building relations with external partners and businesses to support the growth of the local and regional economy and the Innovation Sprint Programme is just one the many opportunities SMEs can engage with Edge Hill University.”

Places on the programme are limited. SMEs are being encouraged to get in touch and take advantage of the fully-funded support.  Interested SMEs can email:  pic@edgehill.ac.uk or find out more at www.edgehill.ac.uk/pic.

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