More than £2m has been made available by the Northwest Regional Development Agency’s (NWDA) Grant for Research and Development (GRAND) programme over the next two years to help companies test innovative new products, processes or services.
The new funding stream has been approved by the NWDA and the European Regional Development Fund, which has provided £1.1m for the programme.
GRAND Proof-of-Market is designed to help SMEs in the region assess the potential of new, commercially viable products, processes or services through market research, market testing and competitor analysis. The funding will help companies to decide if further proposed R&D spend would be worthwhile.
Projects may include identification of target markets; market size; barriers to entry; competitor analysis; identification of any technical barriers; exploration of Intellectual Property (IP) protection routes; and IP protection.
Projects will be limited to a duration of three to nine months and will provide grant support for up to 60 per cent of project costs. Projects can receive between £5,000 and £20,000 support.
Steven Broomhead, chief executive of the NWDA, said: ‘The NWDA is committed to encouraging relationships between businesses and the knowledge base in the region.
‘This early-stage funding will encourage companies to work with the knowledge base to examine the market for new products and process ideas, specifically where barriers to accessing finance are preventing innovation.’
For more information on business support or to apply for GRAND Proof-of-Market funding, contact Business Link Northwest.