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New Innovation Hubs Set to Empower Local SMEs

Colleges across the West Midlands have successfully been awarded part of a £2.4 million investment to work in partnership with local SME’s to drive regional business innovation.

The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) collaborated with Innovate UK to co-design this trailblazing approach, emphasising the vital role of further education colleges in technology adoption and training for small businesses.

Significant Investment Results:

This ground-breaking initiative has led to:

  • Creation of three main innovation hubs across Birmingham, the Black Country, Coventry and Warwickshire.
  • Each hub led by different colleges in the region.
  • Birmingham hub led by BMet and operating from Matthew Boulton College.

The Birmingham Innovation Centre Partnership

Led by BMet, this partnership is made up of six colleges in the Birmingham area, targeting digital technology adoption within SMEs in sectors such as advanced manufacturing, construction, dental, digital, and engineering.

Matthew Boulton College, part of BMet, focus

Based in the heart of Birmingham’s Learning Quarter and just minutes from Moor Street Station and the Bullring shopping centre is where the two BMet innovation hubs will be based, at Matthew Boulton College.

The Matthew Boulton College focus is on dental and digital.

At Matthew Boulton College, there will be two centres available to SME’s, one in the college’s new Dental Suite and the other in the digital suite focussing on cyber and AI.

These centres are geared supporting local businesses, by upskilling and training existing SME staff.

The six partner colleges across Birmingham include:

  • Matthew Boulton College, part of BMet
  • Fircroft College
  • Heart of Worcestershire College
  • South and City College Birmingham
  • Solihull College and University Centre
  • University College Birmingham

Across the region:

The Black Country FE Innovation Service, led by Walsall College and including five colleges in the Black Country will allow businesses access to their state-of-the-art facilities and expert guidance around technologies in key growth sectors. The partner colleges include Walsall College, Dudley College, Wolverhampton College, Halesowen College, South Staffordshire College

The Innovation hub across Coventry and Warwickshire is led by Coventry College.  The focus in this area will be digital and green technologies. The partner colleges include Warwickshire College Group, North Warwickshire and South Leicester College and Stratford-upon-Avon College and Coventry College.

 How will we help business growth?

Our experienced teams will work with you to capture your business vision, identify growth opportunities, and understand the barriers to growth. We will work with you to develop a clear technology adoption plan, with the objective of building capabilities into your business through:

  • Identifying the technology-led business growth barriers. We will evaluate and recognise key technological challenges affecting business growth.
  • Mapping out the skills and training requirements which will both provide additional capabilities into your business.
  • Support you to access and connect into Local Authorities and Business Growth West Midlands when additional need is identified – e.g., capital, or financial support for technology hardware.

What is the cost?

There is no direct cost to business for accessing this service. For this first year we want to work in partnership with our regional SME community to support you adopt new technologies to support your business

To find out more about Innovate UK click here 

Find out more?

To find out more about the Matthew Boulton College offer email:





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