New action plan launched to boost innovation in West Midlands
Watch highlights of the event
Recorded at University of Wolverhampton, 20th July 2023
Innovate UK and the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) have announced a new strategic partnership to strengthen innovation in the region.
The West Midlands Local Action Plan sets a framework to more closely align the innovation support Innovate UK and the WMCA provide to the region’s businesses, entrepreneurs, and researchers with the eight primary growth clusters identified in the WMCA’s Plan for Growth.
Launched at an event at Wolverhampton University on Thursday 20th July, the West Midlands Local Action Plan aims to harness the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit of the region where James Watt perfected his revolutionary steam engine and where the UK’s first petrol driven car was made.
The Local Action Plan commits Innovate UK and the WMCA to working together in three core areas:
- Strategic Partnerships with open and transparent discussions, based on mutual trust and co-creating and delivering this plan.
- Innovation Support that meets the needs of local businesses and entrepreneurs, is targeted at identified priority clusters, and is informed by the expertise and data shared between our organisations.
- Communications and engagement to ensure Innovate UK is reaching, engaging, and inspiring more entrepreneurs and business leaders to innovate.
Andy Street, Mayor of West Midlands and WMCA Chair, said: “Pre pandemic, our region was the fastest growing region outside of London and I’m determined to restore this position. Harnessing the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship that the West Midlands is renowned for is central to achieving that mission.
“As we forge an economy fit for the 21st Century, it’s great news that we’ve secured £33m for our Innovation Accelerator. Combined with this action plan that we’re launching with Innovate UK, we hope that we will be able to bring forward further investments soon. That’s why we’re currently working with Government to explore the potential to provide tax incentives and wider support to innovative businesses located within defined Investment Zones right across our region.”
Indro Mukerjee, CEO of Innovate UK, said: “We are launching Innovate UK’s West Midlands Local Action Plan to support the region’s economic growth and fuel innovation. I am pleased to be working with Mayor Andy Street and the region’s business and innovation leaders to help deliver growth and productivity.”
Mike Wright, chair of WM Innovation Board, said: “This action plan sets out some game-changing priorities that the region and Innovate UK are committed to driving more activity and investment around. It comes at an exciting time for the West Midlands’ potential to become more productive by unlocking major opportunities to increase R&D, innovation, and business growth.”
The launch of the Local Action Plan comes as the five projects in the West Midlands Innovation Accelerator, announced at Spring 2023 budget, launched their engagement with the local business community last week.
Funding worth £33m has been invested in innovation, designed to bolster the region’s research and development capability, with a particular focus on health and medical technologies, clean technologies, and cross-sector R&D. The Innovation Accelerator is a locally driven programme, developed in collaboration with government and led by Innovate UK.