Innovative businesses in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly can continue to access expert support from the University of Plymouth after it secured a multimillion-pound funding boost.

Part-funded through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), Acceleration Through Innovation 2 (ATI2) will run from now until the end of 2022 and support businesses who are looking to increase innovation, growth and productivity.

The project, led by the University’s Research and Innovation department, aims to help businesses across multiple sectors through one-to-one support, world-class research, consultancy and grant funding.

Although the funding boost arrives at a time of uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ATI2 is committed to offering advice and guidance to those looking beyond the current economic landscape.

The latest award follows the success of Acceleration Through Innovation (ATI), a £3 million ERDF project which launched in 2017. ATI engaged over 580 businesses, awarded 48 innovation grants with a total value in excess of £1 million and enabled 61 businesses to bring new products, services and processes to the market or their business.

The second phase of funding totals £3.4 million and will make a further £500,000 of grants available for businesses in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. It will focus on supporting those seeking to drive growth and productivity resulting in sustainable change and new jobs.

Jo Hancock, Programme Manager, said:

“This is an immensely challenging time for businesses and once we emerge from this situation, they are likely to need support more than ever. So, it is fantastic that we have secured additional funding, enabling us to continue our work with small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. ATI2 will deliver high value, high impact interventions to SMEs with specific innovation needs that have the potential to lead to scalable and commercially viable new products, services or processes.”

ATI2 will remain focused on innovation culture and strategy, helping businesses to better understand innovation and its fundamental link to increased productivity The programme will also enable them to drive value from conceptual ideas through to commercialisation.

David Crawford, Managing Director of The Big Beanbag Company, is among those to have benefitted from the original ATI project. He added:

“ATI’s offer is really different in that it is tailored to the individual requirements of the client. Through ATI and the University of Plymouth, we now have a new product in the market which would not have existed if it wasn’t for their support.”

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