A new ‘Innovation Ecosystem Navigation Service’ has been announced to help businesses and entrepreneurs in Greater Manchester to access innovation support.

The service will help firms to accelerate new ideas into commercial products and services and will be delivered by the Greater Manchester Business Growth Hub through the city-region’s UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) allocation. Through the scheme, businesses will be connected to commercialisation-focused resources, university expertise and research, development and translation resources to take their innovations forward.

‘Local innovation connectors’ will be embedded in all ten boroughs in the city-region, which will work with local authorities to identify and engage with businesses and entrepreneurs with innovative ideas.

Greater Manchester’s Lead for Economy and Leader of Manchester City Council, Cllr Bev Craig said

Supporting innovation is crucial to the success of Levelling Up the country and has been central to the evolution of Greater Manchester.

“We have a proud history of innovation from the world’s first passenger railway to the world’s first stored program electronic computer.

“This progressive spirit is mirrored in this new service, which will provide a helping hand to those who need support navigating our expert yet extensive innovation ecosystem and its wide range of nationally and internationally leading resources.

“Helping our businesses to access relevant support through advice, guidance and grants in this way will be a powerful tool for growth as innovation and entrepreneurialism will create high-quality jobs and opportunities for those who live and work here”

The service aligns with the Greater Manchester Innovation Plan, which aims to stimulate long-term innovation-led and inclusive economic development by creating a more effective city-region wide system for commercialising ideas, technologies and services. The outcomes of the service will also align with the priorities of Innovation Greater Manchester – a business-led partnership that harnesses the collaborative power of businesses, universities, and local government to drive productivity through research and innovation.

Jessica Bowles, member of the Innovation Greater Manchester Board added:

“Our ambitions for the future of Greater Manchester can only be achieved through a deep partnership between academia, local government and the expertise of our business community. This ‘triple helix’ approach provides the potential for a really exciting future for our local economy.”