Co-Innovate, Brunel University London's flagship business support programme, won an award at the West London Business Awards 2023 in recognition of a long track record of successful innovation and business support to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups across Greater London.
The win, presented by impressionist and comedian Rory Bremner, was in the 'Incubator/Accelerator/Coworking Space of the Year' category, with the judges remarking how "the work of Co-innovate aligns strongly with the wider economic development strategy of London and has demonstrable impact of 10+ years".
Co-Innovate consists of two parallel projects, Brunel Co-Innovate Journeys and Bridging the Gap, with the former aimed at supporting SMEs and the latter providing support to start-ups within the first year of formation. Both programmes cater exclusively for businesses registered in the area of Greater London.
Business incubation is central to both projects: Brunel Co-Innovate Journeys employs three Innovation Directors and Bridging the Gap two Entrepreneur Directors who provide general business mentoring support to the businesses enrolling to Co-Innovate. Besides the mentoring, the programme’s menu of business growth support includes the option to engage in collaborative innovation with the University's students and academics, and a range of business education and training workshops, which typically also draw from Brunel's knowledge base.
West London Business, the region's non-profit business leadership forum, noted that the direct access to a wide range of academic expertise and research facilities across Brunel’s three colleges and five research institutes is what makes the business incubation offer by Co-Innovate unique both locally in West London and further afield. The expertise covers subjects from design, different areas of engineering, business and management and law to arts and humanities and even life sciences and medicine through the recently launched Brunel Medical School.
The programme is now in its third funding cycle, with the repeat funding awards – involving the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Greater London Authority (GLA) – being a testimony to the programme’s continuous success. The judges also remarked that Brunel’s in-kind matching contributions show a deep commitment to that success.
Dr Vanja Garaj, Project Leader for Co-Innovate and Director of Research for Brunel Design School, said: “Co-Innovate has been providing innovation support to SMEs and start-ups across Greater London since 2012 and this award is a great recognition of the programme’s ongoing success in business incubation and acceleration, especially as it comes directly from the business community.
“The award is for our Co-Innovate team, who I would like to thank for their hard work over the years.”
To find out more about Co-Innovate, including reading case studies, visit www.brunel.ac.uk/co-innovate.
The Co-Innovate team comprises Professor Geoff Rodgers (Co-Innovate Project Director); Dr Vanja Garaj (Co-Innovate Project Leader); Rhona Denness (Operations Manager); Rob Holdway, Naima Omasta-Milsom and Obiajulu Egbunike (Innovation Directors); Gurnam Selvarajah and Yuliana Topazly (Entrepreneur Directors); Nam Sharma (Project Manager); Louise Third (Marketing Consultant); Melvin Loyid (Marketing Associate) and Omer Ali and Patricia Ojiambo (Project Coordinators).
Joe Buchanunn, Media Relations
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