Turning ideas into business

A project based at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) is working to ensure that innovative businesses can take their great ideas and turn them into profits.

Launched five years ago The Innovation Clinic exists to support Lancashire businesses in the development of new products and services.

WNJ has referred a number of its clients looking to develop their ideas to the programme.

Its aim is to reduce failure rates of new product development as well as promote a successful innovation culture in Lancashire.

And it is having success, helping businesses in sectors from engineering to sports equipment to bring new products to market.

Its team brings together extensive industry and academic expertise, state of the art facilities and technology to provide fully funded and tailored support.

And it is available at any stage of the development process – from initial concept and market research right through to launch.

The programme is part-funded by the European Regional Development fund (ERDF) and works closely with Boost, Lancashire’s Business Growth Hub.

To qualify for the programme your business or new business idea must be based in the county, employ fewer than 250 full time people and have an annual turnover below £40 million and/or an annual balance sheet total of less than £35m.

Iain Martin (pictured), who helped set up the programme, says: “We work with people to understand the potential of a product before they commit to the expense of opening up tooling, developing prototypes and awarding production contracts.”

The team also works with businesses researching and testing products as part of the innovation journey – that may mean validating their benefits and usability as well as measuring performance.

Along the way there is support when it comes to developing materials and prototypes as well as product design concepts, brand development and market strategy advice.

Iain adds: “Having an idea is one thing; that idea being good is another thing and actually being able to roll that good idea out in a commercially viable way is yet another.

“What we do is sit down and work with the business at any stage of the process. For instance, we’ll help them to sense check their idea, to really evaluate if it is any good and also if there is a market demand for it.”

To discuss if you could benefit from the programme contact me on please contact me on 01772 430000.

Email: innovationclinic@uclan.ac.uk or call Carl on 01772 892703 and Rory on 01772 892707 for more information.