All 6 entries tagged Smes

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June 12, 2012

Social Media Tips

Writing about Social Media insights for SMEs from Think Digital

My colleague Dr Xiao Ma from WMG's SME team has just posted on his blog with some valuable insight from the Social Media Forum he attended in March 2012.

He has tailored content specifically for our smaller business audience, so SMEs here are some of the top tips:

  • Don't push content through social media platforms, create content that others will want to share
  • Google+ is a must have for generating content for search engine optimsation purposes for the time being as Google is not indexing Facebook.
  • A lesson to learn - KLM and Nokia have social media customer service teams separated from their existing customer service team to offer specialised support.
  • "Culture eats strategy for breakfast" - Culture and education are key barriers for businesses to take up social media.
  • Get the right contacts from the right platforms. LinkedIn to get professionals, but Twitter to get CEOs.

For Dr Xiao Ma's full blog visit:

To register an interest in the support we offer SMEs around social media email:

February 16, 2012

Funding Opportunities – TSB and European Schemes

There are a number of funding opportunities available to smaller businesses who are interested in developing new technologies and collaborating with other businesses/academic institutions.

See below some of the latest opportunities from the TSB and the Seventh Framework Programme:

1. Technology-inspired innovation - £2m Competition For Feasibility Funding

The TSB aims to stimulate innovation across a range of core technology areas to help ensure that small and micro businesses in the UK are well-equipped to respond to society’s current and future challenges.
Up to £2m will be invested in feasibility studies through grants of up to £25,000.
The SME can work collaboratively with one partner.

The funding competition will focus on feasibility studies in four technology areas:
Advanced Materials and Nanoscale Technologies
Electronics, Photonics and Electrical Systems
Information and Communications Technology
Open Date: 12th March 2012
Deadline: 11th April

2. Boosting Innovation in Manufacturing Competencies

This competition focuses on production technologies that, within a global marketplace, can create high value through novel processes, advanced product manufacture, resource efficiency and production techniques and thereby enable greater product customisation. It also encourages technologies that will facilitate greater environmental sustainability through efficient disposal, recycling or remanufacture of assets at the end of their useful life.
Proposal Deadline: 29th February 2012

3. FP7 Research and Innovation

ICT-PSP-2012 : Innovation Programme - Deadline: 15th May 2012


Future Emerging Technologies (FET) - Final Deadline: 12th March 2013

FP7-2012-ICT-FI: Future Internet: Pervasive and Trusted Network & Service Infrastructures - Open Date: 18th May 2012 Expected Deadline: 24th Oct 2012

Intelligent Energy Programme: CIP-IEE-2012: Bioenergy/ Energy-efficient transport/ Clean and energy-efficient vehicles - Deadline: 8th May 2012

4. EUREKA’s Eurostar’s programme
The Eurostar’s Programme is a European Joint Programme dedicated to R&D SME’s, which aims to SMEs to lead international collaborative research and innovation projects by easing access to support and funding. It is fine-tuned to focus on the needs of SMEs, and projects can address any technology but must have a civilian purpose and be aimed at the development of a new product, process or service.
Type of participants can include; R&D SME’s, SMEs, Large companies, Universities, Research institutes.
Deadline: 1st March 2012

February 10, 2012

Polymer Innovation – What Does it Mean to You and Your Business?

The Polymer Innovation part of the IIPSI project is tasked with helping West Midlands based SMEs to grow by assisting them to develop and introduce innovative polymer products. This is a huge research area with new materials and processes appearing all the time, so the potential range of projects we can carry out with companies is very broad. Current research that we are working on includes:

  • Additive Manufacturing – building plastic parts a layer at a time using printing techniques
  • Plastic electronics – embedding functionality such as lighting into plastic parts
  • Micromoulding – making tiny parts using specialist injection moulding equipment
  • Sustainable polymers and composites – ‘green’ materials with lower environmental impact

…but now is your chance to have your say and ensure that the IIPSI provides the assistance that you need!

We’d love to hear any comments and suggestions on the innovative uses of polymers you’d like to develop within your business. Please feel free to comment below or to contact one of the SME team by email or on Twitter @WMGSME.

January 09, 2012

Funding and Support Opportunities in the West Midlands

The new look MAS launched last week with funding available for small and medium manufacturing businesses. The delivery team consists of Grant Thornton, Pera, WM Manufacturing Consortium Ltd and SWMAS Ltd. Some of the tools and support will be delivered through expertise provided from WMG. MAS is already a well-established business support programme in the region and highly respected for all areas of manufacturing advice and new product development.

The initiative is aimed at improving the global competitiveness of UK advanced manufacturing supply chains and it is estimated that it will help to generate £1.5bn in economic growth, 23,000 jobs and safeguard 50,000 jobs.

Launching the MAS programme, Business Minister, Mark Prisk said: "Manufacturing contributes half of Britain’s exports and has much higher productivity than the rest of the economy so it is essential to our plans for growth. That is why we are taking steps to ensure our industrial base is thriving as part of a strong and balanced UK economy.”

For more information visit:

Other current Government funded opportunities available for SMEs in the West Midlands include:

Smart Research Grants

Creative KTN Games Competition

Sustainable Manufacturing for the Process Industry

Manufacturing Processes

Building Performance Evaluation

WMG is keen to collaborate on projects with SMEs so do get in touch if you have an idea you want to partner on. Additionally there are locally/European funded initiatives from university departments like WMG to support SMEs. Please contact for more information.

October 25, 2011

The Power of Networking

It’s something that every business has to do whether small or large, and that’s network. I have to network often, as do my colleagues. It is important to stay in touch with what is going on out there. We all have different reasons for networking with other individuals, groups and businesses; however most of us network ultimately to drive new business opportunities.

There are a few important tips to remember when networking.

  • If attending a pre-organised networking event, be sure to scope out who will be attending. Have a STRATEGY of who you need to talk to and what you want to talk to them about. With this in mind you will feel more confident and at ease when approaching people.
  • Develop a PITCH outlining who you are and what you do without over complicating your offer. If you can’t explain what you do in less than 20 seconds then you will lose the attention of your audience. It’s fine to go into some more detail following your initial introduction.
  • While you may be preoccupied in delivering your own message to fellow networkers, it is equally important to LISTEN to other people and not talk over people. Let each person in the group input into a conversation. Do not oversell yourself; this will only detract attention from your offer.  
  • IMPACT and influence are important elements when networking. Think about key areas of your expertise or your business offering that will be most impactful. Is there anything particularly innovative or new in the way you do things? It may not be related to products or services but the way you run your business or other interests you have. Giving people a reason to remember you should result in more calls following the networking meeting.

We will post regularly about upcoming business networking events on an ongoing basis.

Check out the following business networking groups in Warwickshire for now:

Warwickshire Business Club

Warwick Business Growth Network

Circle Events

October 21, 2011

IIPSI Update

I can’t believe it is Friday already. We have had a really busy week. We are working hard at the moment to promote the new IIPSI building and the programme of support we will be offering as widely as possible across the West Midlands. It will be a facility that SMEs can make use of to develop new products and services around three distinct areas: Digital Technologies, User Focussed Design and Multi-functional Polymers. Check out the pictures in the gallery to see how we are progressing.

We hosted a networking event on Tuesday evening for the Solihull, Coventry and Warwickshire branch of UKITA and hosted 20 businesses who attended a CRM workshop. Whenever businesses come in and see us we are capturing feedback about some of the facilities and demonstrators we are developing for the IIPSI building. For the multi-functional polymers area we are developing applications in shape memory polymers and electroluminescent polymers so that businesses will be able to see how the technology could be applied to a product they are developing. Additionally in the area of digital media, we are looking at setting up a Mobile App Lab so that we can support businesses develop mobile apps for their websites. We want to know if businesses would find this useful. If you are interested in talking to us about how your business can benefit from IIPSI please get in touch.


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  • A new source for Innovation grants by MAFG on this entry

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