Intellectual property project launched to boost West Midlands business

Intellectual property project launched to boost West Midlands business

12 Mar 2021


Funding and support to help businesses secure their intellectual property (IP) rights is being made available following a successful pilot initiative aimed at raising awareness of the importance of protecting ideas and innovation.

The Innovation Enabler project is aimed at businesses that are growing in the West Midlands. It will support them in the management and exploitation of their intellectual property (IP).”

The project will be led by Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) and funded by the WMCA’s West Midlands Innovation Programme and the Government’s Intellectual Property Office.

The pilot for the scheme, launched in 2017 by the GBSLEP, set out to ensure IP was forming a key part of SME’s growth strategies.

At the start of the pilot, only 13 percent of businesses surveyed reported having any sort of IP strategy or plan, compared to 69 percent at the end of the pilot. Businesses who received support on the pilot were able to make informed decisions on various aspects of their business such as new licensing and distribution agreements, brand strategies and applying for or registering appropriate IP rights.

Following its success, the programme will now be rolled out regionally with the ambition of working with more than 60 businesses over the next three years.

Ewa Truchanowicz, non -executive Board Director for SMEs at the GBSLEP, said:
“Our aim has been to ensure businesses can make informed, strategic decisions with their Intellectual Property(IP). Understanding the potential value, opportunities and risks of IP will enable firms to work innovatively and explore the potential of export opportunities.
“Correct management of intellectual property has been proven to increase the chances of survival and productivity for SMEs.”
“The IP Enabler will encourage SMEs participating on a business support programme to help develop understanding of the commercial potential of their innovations and assets. This will allow them to develop an IP management or commercialisation strategy that could benefit their business model.”

As well as working with businesses directly, the programme aims to ensure IP is included in the development of strategies for local growth though business support programmes such as regional Growth Hubs.

This work will include the training of ‘IP Advisors’ and the creation of resources focused on the early identification of IP assets, called ‘IP Assist’.