Greater Manchester’s high-growth businesses can now make the most of a dynamic new programme that will accelerate innovation projects towards successful market delivery and commercialisation.

From now until March 2025, Innovation Navigator will provide businesses working in AI, data and advanced computing; diagnostics and genomics; and sustainable advanced materials with bespoke support to accelerate the delivery of products and services to market.

Innovation Navigator will enhance Greater Manchester’s reputation as one of the best places in the UK to innovate and grow a business, unlocking and removing barriers to overcome challenges in the market, supporting businesses to scale and enable faster commercial returns and value.

Businesses will receive specialist advice to reduce time to launch and bring new innovations to market, while embedding skills in the business for future growth and allowing for greater knowledge transfer opportunities.

In addition to specialised and tailored support, participants could also benefit from £1.6m available in grant funding and access to the investment community.

Deadline extended for GM 100 Rising Stars of Business

Yvonne Grady, Head of Innovation at the GM Business Growth Hub, said: “There are more and more businesses in Greater Manchester that are future focussed and are expanding into emerging and innovative markets that present high growth opportunities.

“We’re having conversations every day with businesses that are embracing sustainability and the opportunity of AI and advanced computing.  

“We are blessed in Greater Manchester with four universities, world-class facilities, and an amazing business innovation support landscape. Our role with Innovation Navigator is to be a guiding light and navigate relevant businesses through this ecosystem.

“At GM Business Growth Hub, we spend most of our time opening up conversations and uncovering the issues that businesses are facing while also helping them to access the incredible assets, expertise and technical facilities that we have in the region. Innovation Navigator will continue in this vein while also building something new and exciting.”

The city region’s universities – Manchester Metropolitan University, University of Salford, the University of Manchester and the University of Bolton – are partnering with Innovation Navigator to open their doors to businesses to further encourage research and collaborations.

While industry associations, business support services, chambers of commerce, and local government and Research Technology Organisations throughout Greater Manchester will come together to work with businesses.

Each business joining Innovation Navigator will benefit from the support of experienced and highly skilled Commercialisation Specialists and Local Innovation Connectors to guide them through their innovation journey, all the way to commercialisation.  

The team of ten Local Innovation Connectors, each based within a Greater Manchester local authority and experienced in business, will be the first point of contact for businesses and will identify their immediate innovation needs.

Commercialisation Specialists will then engage with businesses, using their expertise, experience, and success in accelerating innovations to market, help businesses to access funding and additional external support.

The Growth Company praised for culture of inclusivity & equality

Nick Avis, former Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Transfer at the University of Chester and chief executive of Clean Power Limited, a clean energy startup, is joining Innovation Navigator as a Commercialisation Specialist.

He said: “We’re trying to move the dial to get products and services to market. This is a really exciting time, where emerging technologies are opening up a whole world of potential.  I have experienced the innovation landscape first hand and taken a product to market, so I know what it can be like for a new or spin-out business to navigate the innovation ecosystem. 

“Innovation Navigator is innovative in itself and will provide bespoke solutions to those that are close to market. My role will be to help businesses overcome the hurdles to get products and services to market, handholding businesses to find the right collaborative partners to reach commercialisation faster.”

Innovation Navigator is part of the GM Business Growth Hub’s Innovation Service for businesses that are working or want to work in the fields of AI, data and advanced computing; diagnostics and genomics; and sustainable advanced materials, Innovation Navigator can help provide innovative solutions and solve funding gaps.

Three leaders bolster The Growth Company board