Innovation will boost south-west England’s post-COVID economy

Traditional Cotswold village, England

Business innovation is helping shape the south-west’s post-pandemic future.

The south-west’s pioneering businesses are crucial to helping the area, and the whole country, to recover from the economic impact of COVID-19:

  • from crime-fighting cyber innovations to smart prosthetics and new recycling processes, trailblazing businesses are helping the south-west to build back better
  • industry, government, universities and local enterprise partnerships are working together to benefit people in the south-west and across the whole UK
  • the Innovate Local event will showcase the excitement of innovation and provide advice for businesses wanting support.

Government support is available to help them do it.

This is the message from the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK, along with Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership and GFirst Local Enterprise Partnership. They are supporting a free, virtual conference and exhibition on 24 to 25 March 2021, to showcase some of the great success stories in:

  • Gloucestershire
  • Swindon
  • Wiltshire.

£220 million for Gloucestershire and Wiltshire

Over the last four years, Innovate UK has awarded more than £220 million to small and medium-sized enterprises, supporting 400 projects across:

  • Gloucestershire
  • Swindon
  • Wiltshire.

Case studies detailing the work of some of these businesses can be found below. They include:

  • a start-up changing the way sensitive materials are transported
  • a business helping to detect and prevent crime
  • a start-up improving prosthetics for amputees.

Layla Burrows, Innovate UK’s South West Regional Manager, said:

Gloucestershire, Swindon, Wiltshire, and the wider south-west are packed with pioneering organisations that are leading the way in terms of cyber innovation. Meanwhile, our region is home to a wide range of tech start-ups, including those led by Innovate UK-backed young innovators, who are establishing business working with all kinds of new technology.

Just last month, for example, Innovate UK awarded Recycling Technologies, a specialist plastic recycling technology provider based in Swindon, a £1.2 million Innovate UK Smart grant as part of a consortia, to enhance and improve the efficiency of chemical recycling technology in the UK.

Speakers at next week’s Innovate Local South-West event will explain how they made their ideas a reality, and the ways in which they are now reacting and adapting in order to help our economy recover following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Free advice

Those who log into the south-west event will hear from inspirational speakers, including:

  • Chris Dunning-Walton, founder and chair of CyNam
  • Dan White, chief commercial officer and founder of Synalogik
  • Patrick Goldsack, founder CEO and chief technologist at Configured Things
  • senior representatives from:
    • the National Cyber Security Centre
    • Innovate UK
    • Innovate UK EDGE
    • KTN.

There will be free advice available for local businesses looking for investment or support to innovate, as well as the practical sessions focusing on writing funding bids and pitches.

Examples of Innovate UK-backed innovation in south-west England

The south-west start-up redefining recycling

Kieran Devlin wants to reduce the impact of waste materials on our environment. The 23 year-old started the research and development behind his company, Revive Innovations, during his final year studying Product Design at the University of the West of England.

He hopes to challenge consumer attitudes towards sustainability in design, paving the way for a more luxurious and desirable recycled product market.

Based in Bristol, Revive Innovations is a sustainable design start-up that creates innovative materials and products to recycle waste in unique ways. Building circular design systems enables new and beautiful purposes for targeted waste streams, whilst creating more accessible recycling infrastructures.

Revive’s current project is establishing an accessible recycling infrastructure and creating innovative ways to repurpose optical discs. These include:

  • CDs
  • DVDs
  • games and software discs.

Read more about Revive Innovations.

The local business changing the way sensitive materials are transported

SurfaceRF was founded on the theory that surface radar technology could have applications to detect whether or not a secure box had been tampered with. Thus, revolutionising the safety and security of the transportation of sensitive materials, be they nuclear or even diplomatic.

The funding and support the team received from Innovate UK enabled it to focus on building its working prototype (during lockdown, in a bedroom).

Dr Andrew Collins from SurfaceRF said: “Without the support, we simply would not be in a position to launch the business. So, I really can’t overstate what a huge opportunity Innovate Local South West is to local businesses!”

The Tewkesbury-based business whose tech will help prevent crime

Synalogik Innovative Solutions Ltd is a Tewkesbury-based start-up founded in 2018 by a group of former specialists from various backgrounds:

  • legal
  • intelligence
  • special forces
  • policing.

Their proprietary automated data processing software, Scout®, helps organisations detect and investigate criminality and compliance issues.

The business had already demonstrated the efficacy of its technology, with customers in:

  • law enforcement
  • banking
  • insurance
  • gaming.

But the team knew it had even greater potential.

With funding from Innovate UK, Synalogik has been able to adapt Scout® to reach new markets. Innovate UK itself has even become a customer.

Daniel White, Chief Commercial Officer of Synalogik, said:

We’re thrilled to be working alongside the Innovate UK family now for over a year. We’ve got ongoing projects funded by them that have allowed us to do research and development to focus our proprietary software on tackling serious issues including the funding of organised crime and money laundering.

The funding will allow us to scale into a large number of global opportunities across multiple sectors. It’s very exciting.

Read more about Synalogik.

The Bristol-based business improving prosthetics for amputees

Diana Kviatkovskaja of Chisel Robotics has a vision to completely redefine amputees’ experience with their prosthetic legs, by introducing a patient-focused future.

The Bristol-based entrepreneur is creating this future with a state of the art wearable device and an app, that can be used with any prosthetic leg for lower limb amputees.

This provides improved and targeted care to a lower limb amputee 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in both indoor and outdoor environments. It eventually allows an amputee to have maximum control over their mobility and quality of life.

This same technology can be used to help clinicians provide more targeted care through detailed mobility insights.

Further information

More information about the Innovate Local South West Business Innovation and Cyber Futures event can be found on the KTN website.

Top image:  Credit: jenifoto / GettyImages

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