More than 50 representatives from small and medium-sized businesses in Trafford attended an event aimed at helping to stimulate innovation last week.
‘Recharge: Trafford’ was held by Business Growth Hub, part of The Growth Company, at the Waterside Arts Centre in Sale and covered topics including Manchester’s recent third-placed ranking by the UK Tech Innovation Index, overcoming barriers to innovation and how companies can safeguard their intellectual property.
Event chair Richard Jeffery, director of Business Growth Hub, said: “Innovation can really help to drive growth in a company, and so, it is heartening to see so many of Trafford’s businesses turn up today. By holding events such as our Recharge series, we hope to help Greater Manchester firms to break down some of the challenges they face.”
Panellists included the two Innovation Showcase Competition winners from Venturefest Manchester 2017. Food and drink manufacturer Mello Drinks won Best Established Business, and co-founder Rose Aldean had the following advice for small and medium-sized enterprises: “Always focus on your goals, unexpected obstacles will always crop up in any business, it’s how you tackle them, and remain focused on your end goal that counts.”
Matt Walsh, CEO of music app developer Beatstream Media, which won the Best Start-Up Business award, said: “We’re constantly trying to innovate. Winning at Venturefest allowed us to stand out from the crowd whilst adding validation and credibility to our product. I would add that the mentoring service provided by the Business Growth Hub has been a massive help, and would recommend to every business owner.”
Also on the panel were Ian Sterritt, policy advisor for the Intellectual Property Office and Sue Ingham, innovation advisor at Hub.
Ian highlighted that intellectual property is not just relevant to businesses that have a product, but that it affects any business that has any intellectual worth tied into it, which really is every business. Sue reiterated this by pointing out every business can be innovative. The assumption is that it is only manufacturing or tech businesses.
Richard Jeffery added: “At times, intellectual property issues can be seen as a barrier to growth and can contribute to a lack of confidence in an idea for a new product or service. Therefore, it is really important for businesses to hear from success stories like Beatstream Media and Mello Drinks, and for someone like Ian to guide firms through how easy patenting a product or idea can be.”
“Finally, the Hub is committed to helping businesses. One of the ways we do this is by making Innovation Vouchers available to SMEs in Greater Manchester. Businesses can apply for up to £5,000 of funding to access expertise, research and specialist facilities – all of which can be exactly what is needed to accelerate the development of innovative products and services.”