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I2C, the ERDF funded Innovation to Commercialisation initiative based at Thornton Science Park in Cheshire, aims to encourage new product development and nurture talent. By bringing ideas to fruition companies can turn their ideas into commercial ventures and make use of some of the expertise and knowledge that will be at their disposal at I2C.

Commercialisation is the development of a new product, process or service, and the process of bringing it to the market. The common aim is that commercialisation will make the product, process or service a paying proposition that will result in financial gain and commercial success.  Growth and innovation are both intrinsically linked to commercialisation, as highlighted by the McKinsey Global Survey online results in 2010. It found that innovation is an important part of growth strategies and the development process is crucial to any new service or product’s inception. Often funding and time are the most vital commodities at this early stage. The I2C project offers a pool of support, facilities and knowledge that can help innovators progress to the commercialisation stage as efficiently as possible.

The best, most successful companies tend to prioritise innovation. As noted in Commercialized Technology: What the Best Companies Do which appeared in Harvard Business Review: ‘Inspired genius and scientific breakthroughs will remain essential elements in competitive success. But they are not enough. Increasingly, competitive success hinges on the coordinated efforts of scientists, engineers, manufacturing staff, and marketers building on breakthroughs with ongoing improvements in products and processes’.

Commercialisation is very important to SMEs, as it is the moment their concepts and ideas begin to reap their rewards. Money and recognition accrued from bringing the finished article or business to the public forum can itself provide the stimulus for investment for growth and further development. Facilitating that jump, from innovative idea to commercial reality, lies at the heart of the I2C project. The technology hub at Thornton Science Park offers a wide range of disciplines and is particularly suited to North West businesses located within the energy, environmental, automotive and advanced manufacturing sectors.

The I2C project is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund. SMEs registered or trading in Cheshire and Warrington are eligible to apply to the I2C project. Applicants must have a turnover of less than €50 million and employ fewer than 250 employees and need to comply with State Aid thresholds. In addition to I2C’s in-house team of engineers and specialist equipment, SMEs that enrol in the project will have access to the world-class facilities at the University of Chester, via its state-of-the-art skills, equipment and resources based at Thornton Science Park and the NowFOOD Centre in Chester.

If you are an SME and meet the criteria to take part in I2C, please visit our website and complete the application form at www1.chester.ac.uk/i2c.

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