A new ICT Cluster initiative – Bridging the Opportunity Gap – aims to optimise the opportunities available to West Midlands ICT SMEs for European funded collaborations. The scheme will provide funded-support to identify and target potential programme and partnership opportunities and help SMEs develop a European network of relationships.
The Bridging the Opportunity Gap (BtOG) initiative runs from September 2009 to March 2011 and has three core goals. Primarily the scheme will identify potential EU funding opportunities and provide support and assistance to SMEs in achieving successful project applications. The scheme also aims to enhance the profile of West Midlands ICT SMEs and the ICT Cluster, in the EC, to enable greater representation in EC structures and decision making. Finally, BtOG plans to optimise links between local SMEs and other European regions to facilitate and increase the number of collaborative bids.
The initiative is open to all ICT SMEs in the region but will mainly focus on RFID, mobile and wireless technologies, informatics and IT security. The scheme is tasked with identifying and profiling a minimum of 50 SMEs, over the next six months, who are most likely to benefit from EU grant funding opportunities.
Once profiled, participants will be advised of the most appropriate EU funded programmes and also individual partner opportunities. These companies will also benefit from workshops offering guidance on how to engage more effectively with other European businesses and organisations. BtOG will also provide support in identifying potential regions, partners for collaboration and European support contacts, as well as assist with the funding of European visits.
“Our objective is to identify SMEs who are best placed to benefit from EU funding , advise them of potential opportunities and provide the necessary support to help them win,” explains Hugo Russell, project manager, Bridging the Opportunity Gap. He continued Over 50 billion Euros of EU funding is currently available to support collaborative projects each of which could be valued from €50,000 – 10,000,000 and with individual partners receiving differing levels of support. Our target is to assist a minimum of five ICT SMEs, new to the European funding arena to become involved in successful EU projects and bring additional funding of up to €500,000 into the region.
Birmingham Science Park Aston (formerly Aston Science Park) has been contracted - via tender process - to assist the ICT Cluster core team with activities related to delivering this project. They are keen to hear from any ICT companies interested in undergoing this “fit for funding” profiling exercise and subsequent information and support service in order to optimise their chances of winning European funding.
For further information:
Hugo Russell, Project Manager
T: +44 (0)121 250 3504
F: +44 (0)121 250 3567