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East Midlands Chamber News

New iNet Funding Stream Confirmed To Boost Region's Life Science Businesses

Medilink LogoLife science and medical technology businesses in the East Midlands will continue to get help from Medilink East Midlands for a further two years thanks to an additional £2.1m from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

The Healthcare and Bioscience iNet advisory service, which is managed by Medilink East Midlands, targets innovative businesses looking to develop within the life-sciences sector. An agreement has been signed between Medilink East Midlands and the Secretary of State for the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), to part fund the project which will run until June 2015.

Darren Clark, Chief Executive of Medilink East Midlands commented: "The iNet service has had a major influence on the success of life science companies in the region, so we are delighted that this work can continue through our team of specialist advisers. We will continue offering practical advice and assistance to innovative companies, and support them in accessing funding, as well as providing clinical and academic expertise.

"This applies as much to manufacturers of medical devices and equipment as it does to drug development, and also helps those firms moving into the sector for the first time.

"We have been encouraged by the number of new start-up organisations that are emerging, especially within the pharmaceutical sector, which are driven by innovation. Additionally, our medical technology sector, which receives significant support from Medilink, continues to go from strength-to-strength.

"The East Midlands now has the second largest cluster of Med-Tech businesses in the country, with the first largest accumulation in the West Midlands, positioning our entire region at the forefront of advancement and growth in the UK’s Med-Tech industry."

In addition to advisory work, the Healthcare and Bioscience iNet also organises a comprehensive programme of seminars and training events to assist both businesses and new entrepreneurs to establish, grow and diversify.

iNet events and networking activity encourage greater collaboration, and provide a vital support system designed to help the sector thrive.

The award of ERDF funding recognises the contribution that the iNet has made to the local economy. Since it was established in 2008, the iNet has worked with SMEs and individuals at every stage of the innovation journey, connecting them with relevant academic, clinical and business expertise in order to take innovative products and services from concept to market.

Records show that the iNet project has already helped:

  • Secure over £7m investment for companies
  • Ensure at least 30 new product or service launches
  • Establish 29 collaborative research projects that have secured over £20m additional funding
  • Create over 112 jobs and safeguarded over 200 more
  • Initiate 169 company collaborations with the local universities
  • Produced an increase of over £5.5m in economic growth
  • Keith Widdowson, Chairman of Medilink East Midlands said: "Small life science businesses are a significant engine for growth in the East Midlands; the iNet project run by Medilink East Midlands is the oil that ensures this engine runs as smoothly as possible.

"By providing the right contacts and advice at the right moment, innovative businesses are guided through to the point where they can sustain their momentum, creating jobs and wealth in the region in the process.

"In winning continued ERDF funding for this project we have ensured that this vital service is not lost and that the sector in the East Midlands can continue to outperform other regions in the growth of these businesses."

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