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New report from Beauhurst highlights strengths and opportunities for innovation in West Midlands

10 October 2022
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An independent report from innovation and investment consultancy firm Beauhurst reveals how the University of Warwick is helping to drive the West Midlands’ position as a powerhouse for innovation, which is in turn supporting growth in the local economy.

The report indicates that businesses within the Warwick Innovation District (WID) – an innovation ecosystem that brings together academics, businesses, founders, investors and business growth programmes – have raised £35.8 million of equity investment in 2021 alone.

In total, since its launch in 2020, the WID has helped businesses raise over £100 million in investment, with over 700 businesses started or supported.

For example, NanoSyrinx, a University of Warwick spin-out specialising in discovery stage biotechnology, recently received a £6.2 million investment from Octopus Ventures and an existing investor, M Ventures, through the framework of the WID.

David Plumb, Chief Innovation Officer at the University of Warwick, said: “We have long believed that championing innovation is key to supporting the growth of the local economy. The investments generated by the WID will ultimately pay dividends to the wider West Midlands, driving an uptick in new jobs, business opportunities and more.

“It is critical that we continue our effort to nurture entrepreneurial talent, create jobs, solve practical problems and accelerate business growth in order to secure the current and future success of the region. Only through putting innovation at the forefront can we ensure that the West Midlands continues to flourish for years to come.”

The district is also home to the Minerva Business Angel Network, a subsidiary of the University’s Science Park, which was acknowledged as the top investor in the West Midlands.

"Since its inception in 2010, the network has helped provide over £80 million in funding to over 70 companies looking for investment.

The report underlines the West Midlands’ position as a stronghold for many high-growth industries, including clean transport, manufacturing, gaming and esports, health and wellbeing, and fintech.

The WID continues to support these sectors through initiatives such as the NatWest Clean Transport Specialist accelerator and ICURe (Innovation to Commercialisation of University Research) accelerator, both of which have been recognised as two of the most active accelerators in the UK by Beauhurst.

Other initiatives launched by the University include a Health & Wellbeing accelerator, incubators for Deep Tech and Creative & Digital industries, and a £200k investment in a state-of-the-art esports centre.

Henry Whorwood, Head of Research at Beauhurst, commented: “There are only a handful of places that match the Warwick Innovation District ecosystem in the UK. Delivering innovation, nurturing talent, and helping businesses to capitalise on opportunities is enabled due to its highly engaged and diverse ecosystem built on strong foundations.”

James Powell, Regional Enterprise Director at NatWest, said: “NatWest is proud to partner with the University of Warwick to support SMEs in the West Midlands through our recent Accelerator hub, and this report highlights just how vitally important regional collaboration is to the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

"By working together, we can continue to support the region’s future business owners to become success stories of tomorrow, ensuring the region’s already vibrant entrepreneurial culture continues to grow and thrive.”

David concluded: “The findings outlined in the Beauhurst report confirm the quality and scale of our unique innovation ecosystem at work at Warwick and that our efforts to put innovation into action in our region are leading the way.

"These achievements would not be possible without establishing a supporting framework for new businesses, which is why we continue to establish new accelerators and invest in infrastructure year-on-year.”

To download the Beauhurst report, visit: https://www.beauhurst.com/research/warwick-innovation-district/


Peter Davison is deputy editor of The Business Magazine. He has spent his life in journalism – doing work experience in newsrooms in and around Bristol while still at school, and landing his first job on a local newspaper aged 19. By 28 he was the youngest newspaper editor in the country.

An early advocate of online news, he spent the first years of the 2000s telling his bosses that the internet posed both the biggest opportunity and greatest threat to the newspaper industry and the art of journalism. He was right on both counts.

Since 2006 he has enjoyed a career as a freelance journalist. He lives in rural Wiltshire with one wife, two children, and three cats.

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