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Tees Valley Innovation Accelerator Provides Funding to SMEs

Tue, 14 July, 2020

Visit the Tees Valley Innovation Accelerator website

Teesside University and TWI are working in partnership to deliver an exciting new scheme to qualifying small to medium sized companies (SMEs) in the Tees Valley area.  The Tees Valley Innovation Accelerator (TIA) will provide fully funded, tailored support to engineering technology-based companies who are looking for additional momentum to help them bring new products and services to market.

TIA is aimed at companies who are finding it a challenge to deliver the necessary requirements alone, such as the development of a proof-of-concept prototype, business plan and marketing strategy, manufacturing plan and much more, all of which are essential in introducing a breakthrough product or service to the market.  Key to the approach used by TIA is the leveraging of public grant funding to help scheme recipients collaborate with companies and research organisations to make their business ambitions a reality.

SMEs who join the scheme will receive assistance and advice from TWI’s Technology Innovation Management team who can:

  • Help turn the innovative idea into a new product or solution with the potential to attract collaborative public grant funding
  • Bring together a consortium of experts from TWI’s Industrial Membership base and innovation networks to work with them on developing the concept further so that they can take it out to the market
  • Provide guidance on the optimal way to write and present proposals for funding bids
  • Manage the complete process through proposal development to final submitted bid to the funding body

In conjunction with experts from Teesside University, participating companies can also benefit from product prototyping support including: key enabling technologies in electronics, mechanics, photonics, Internet of Things (IoT), manufacturing simulation, chemistry and biology to realise proof-of concept or prototype; development of smart products, bringing together physical components with sensing and actuating elements as well as computing devices and connectivity; and facilities for manufacturing including inkjet 3D printing and micro-milling.

TIA was officially launched in June 2020 with a webinar for businesses in the Tees Valley area, and the scheme is now open to interested SMEs who would like to get involved.

The Tees Valley Innovation Accelerator is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) in the Northern Powerhouse region.  The project is receiving up to £1,575,338 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.  The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (and in London the intermediate body Greater London Authority) is the Managing Authority for the ERDF.  Established by the European Union, the ERDF helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regeneration.  Find out more about European growth funding.

The Northern Powerhouse is a key aspect of this Government’s approach to addressing the productivity gap in the north and ensuring a stronger, more sustainable economy for all parts of the UK.  Alongside over €1.5billion of ERDF support for businesses and communities across the north, the Government has awarded £3.4billion in three rounds of Growth Deals across the Northern Powerhouse.

To find out more about the TIA scheme, including how to apply, please email

Tat-Hean Gan, TWI’s Director of Innovation and Skills said “The Tees Valley Innovation Accelerator is a real opportunity for SMEs in the Tees Valley area to take advantage of the knowledge and experience TWI has built up over many years in turning technology concepts into viable projects, with the potential to secure public funding to create a new market ready product or solution.” “The scheme is also fully funded for those companies taking part so it is an ideal way to move a business forward while simultaneously gaining valuable insights into technology innovation management” he added.

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