NWDA awards four ‘Proof of Market’ Grants

May 18th, 2010

nwda_colourThe Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) has awarded four ‘Proof of Market Grants’ to the value of £79,146 to companies throughout the region.

As part of the Grant for Research and Development, the Proof of Market Grant is designed to specifically support innovative projects that have a solid commercial potential. Where the technology idea is at an early-stage a Proof of Market Grant is available to help investigate the commercial potential.

Grant for Research and Development, is part of Solutions for Business, the Government’s package of publicly funded business support designed to help companies start and grow. It helps entrepreneurs and business owners introduce innovative products and processes, including research trials and product testing.

Protomed based in Manchester designs, develops and distributes medication management and drug packaging systems. The company would like to develop an innovative interactive medication management system to monitor drug delivery times and quantities – the Proof of Market Grant for £20,000 will enable Protomed to carry out extensive market research to establish the commercial potential and demand for the product.

Advanced Hall Sensors (AHS) are a Liverpool based company that designs and manufactures high performance magnetic sensors (Hall Sensors) that are used within a range of industrial and commercial products. The Proof of Market Grant for £19,646 will allow the company to investigate which industries could benefit from not just the existing sensor technology, but also a planned upgrade incorporating the sensor and a signal conditioning IC (ASIC). The study will facilitate specification of the ASIC to ensure a large a customer base as possible may be accessed with the enhanced product.

Teknisolar is a start up company based in Daresbury Science and Innovation Centre that have researched the potential market for a machine which would automate the production of photovoltaic panels. The Proof of Market Grant for £20,000 have allowed Teknisolar to carry out a professional piece of market research to identify the state of the market, demand for the product, competitors, customers and route to market.

eoSemi Ltd are providing the development of a silicon chip for integrated timing applications. The £19,500 Proof of Market project will be carried out in Alsager, Cheshire and will determine the global commercial potential of replacing traditional timing mechanisms with a silicon chip that is smaller and therefore could be manufactured at a lower cost. eoSemi is headquartered in Rotherham, South Yorkshire and has its primary R&D and business development base in Cheshire. The company has recently received seed funding via the Manchester office of fund managers Enterprise Ventures.

Steven Broomhead, Chief Executive, NWDA said:

“It is important that businesses within England’s Northwest are able to access the business finance, from start up and beyond. The Proof of Market Grant makes it simple for businesses such as Protomed, Advanced Hall Sensors (AHS), Teknisolar and EoSemi Ltd, to test the potential of commercially viable products, processes or services through detailed and professional analysis.”

Matthew Harte, Chief Operating Officer from Protomed said:

“The Proof of Market Grant has enabled us as a company to assess and refine the potential future direction of the company though important market feedback of the needs and requirements of our end users.”

Brian Miller, Managing Director, Advanced Hall Sensors Ltd said:

“The NWDA grant allocated to this project will provide the resource to undertake the thorough market investigation needed to identify key features of the ASIC necessary to allow the AHS sensor /ASIC combination, or hybrid sensor, to be adopted by as many prospective users as possible without recourse to any circuit design or re-design otherwise necessary if the high performance sensor were to be implemented on it’s own. With a properly specified ASIC in place, the net gains for AHS Ltd is a more advanced product with a “faster time to market” for our technology.”

Vittore De Leonibus, Chairman and CEO of Teknisolar Ltd said :

“The proof of Market Grant has enabled our company to assess the global market for our innovative multilevel laminator for Photovoltaic panels. Over 90% of the companies interviewed have shown great interest and desire to assess its performances. We will now progress with confidence to the next stage of designing, building and testing a prototype.”

Ian Macbeth, CEO, eoSemi said:

“This support from the NWDA came at just the right time for eoSemi, and has helped validate its product roadmap and go-to-market strategy. This market knowledge has also assisted with fundraising which will be significant as we develop the business in both Cheshire and Yorkshire.”

As part of the response to the current economic downturn, GRAND is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) with £1.1 million, together with £1.2 million from the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA).

The NWDA is playing a crucial role in response to the current economic downturn, with a number of actions being taken to meet the needs of businesses during these financially challenging times.

To keep updated on the range of support being offered by the NWDA go to – www.nwda.co.uk/supportingbusiness

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