International research and technology organisation TWI Ltd, together with partners Tees Valley Combined Authority and Teesside University, is currently running two programmes specifically for SMEs in the Tees Valley region.  These aim to help small and medium sized businesses to address technology challenges, and develop new products, systems and services to bring to market, via fully funded consultancy support.

The Tees Valley Innovation Accelerator (TIA) is being delivered jointly with Teesside University, and is ideal for SMEs focused on innovation and new market development.  Participating companies will receive free consultancy to develop their ideas into new products or solutions.  Support is available to create initial prototypes utilising key enabling technologies to realise proof of concept design; identify grant funding opportunities, build partnerships with like-minded companies and organisations; and subsequently produce high quality, targeted proposals for public funding.

The Materials Integrity Technology Transfer (MITT) is being delivered jointly with Tees Valley Combined Authority (TVCA), and is for SMEs whose business is manufacturing, including all welding and materials joining processes and technologies; engineering materials such as metals, composites and plastics; or associated techniques including quality, welding procedures, inspection, non-destructive testing (NDT), coatings and surfacing.  Companies joining MITT will receive assistance to tackle their technology challenges, increase productivity, progress and improve product and process development, and harness innovation to benefit their business.

A webinar for SMEs in the Tees Valley area to find out all about the TIA and MITT schemes will take place on 20 April 2021, 10am BST.

As well as presentations from Chris Beck, Director of Business and Skills, TVCA on Business Support in the Tees Valley, Gareth Fletcher, Technology Manager, TWI will explain the MITT scheme and Laurence Robinson, Technology Innovation Management, TWI will describe the TIA scheme.  There will also be presentations from companies who are currently on the programmes, on the successes they are achieving including Bubo.AI on their SaaS innovation and Pollywood Ltd on their product innovation.  Zulf Ali, Innovation Partnership Director, Teesside University will explain the prototyping support, and the webinar will be chaired by Abbas Mohimi, Head of Public Funding and Regional Engagement, TWI.

Laurence Robinson, Team Manager, Technology Innovation Management at TWI said “One of the key benefits to SMEs of joining the TIA and MITT programmes is that it will open up their company to input from a broad range of technology, engineering and industry-based experts from TWI’s technical specialists, TWI’s Industrial Membership base and innovation networks that they may not have access to ordinarily.”  “In addition, this collaborative way of working has been tried and tested over many years at TWI, and we have a strong track record in unlocking funding and supporting small businesses in Tees Valley.  In combination with the expertise of our partners TVCA and Teesside University, this means that SMEs can truly realise their technology development ambitions via these two programmes” he added.

Companies wishing to attend the free webinar should register here.

The support is provided free to SMEs with thanks to financial and administrative contributions from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), The Northern Powerhouse and Tees Valley Combined Authority (TVCA).