Industry leaders to debate how to boost SMEs at free innovation masterclass

Business news

Wednesday 08 May 2013

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Leaders from some of Europe’s largest companies will be gathering in Birmingham later this month to discuss the role that open innovation and collaboration can play in boosting the economy.

The free ‘Collaborate to Innovate’ masterclass, which is organised by Coventry University’s Institute of Applied Entrepreneurship (IAE) and backed by the European Regional Development Fund, is inviting SMEs to Edgbaston Stadium on Tuesday 21st May to hear from a range of industry experts and to take part in an interactive workshop.

Speakers at the event will include BT Health’s director of strategy and innovation, Loy Lobo, and John Cunliffe, chief technical officer for the Western and Central Europe operations of telecoms giant Ericsson.

David Simoes-Brown, co-founder of specialist open innovation agency 100%Open, is also set to host an afternoon workshop which aims to help SMEs learn tools and techniques to accelerate growth through new ideas and collaboration.

The masterclass is part of the IAE’s wider ‘Open Innovation’ programme, which is designed to match up the innovative ideas of SMEs with the corporate might of larger organisations to bring benefits to both parties – and to the economy.

Local businesses interested to be involved with the programme are being encouraged to visit its brand new website – – which will act as a hub for the programme’s delivery, knowledge exchange and examples of work being carried out.

Places for the ‘Collaborate to Innovate’ masterclass can be booked free of charge at

Dan Corlett, assistant director of Coventry University’s Institute of Applied Entrepreneurship, said:

We are delighted to offer this masterclass to local businesses and facilitate new opportunities and relationships with larger organisations through open innovation. In particular, we are excited that the day will provide a ‘live’ innovation brief whereby participants will have the opportunity to pitch their ideas with the possibility of them gaining commercial potential.

For further information, please contact Alex Roache, external press and media relations officer, Coventry University, on +44 (0)24 7679 5050 or email

European Regional Development Fund
The Department for Communities and Local Government is the managing authority for the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) programme which runs from 2007 to 2013. This is one of the funds established by the European Commission to help local areas stimulate their economic development. The West Midlands ERDF programme has been allocated €400 million to invest in projects which will support local businesses and create jobs. Priority areas and themes for the West Midlands are: Innovation and Research & Development, Enterprise Development, Sustainable Urban Development, and Inter-Regional Activity. For further information please click here to visit the ERDF website.