Institute will back science spin-offs

February 2, 2001

A £10 million enterprise initiative, involving a consortium of eight West Midlands universities, has been launched by science minister Lord Sainsbury.

The Mercia Institute of Enterprise aims to provide training opportunities for science and engineering students at universities in the consortium, while spinning off at least ten fast-growth technology firms a year.

The MIE, led by the University of Warwick and involving the universities of Aston, Birmingham, Coventry, Keele, Staffordshire, Wolverhampton and Central England, will support a seven-year programme of student enterprise fellowships worth £10,000 each. Fellows will be given a chance to develop a business idea to the point of creating a company or launching a product.

There will also be a £20,000 New Venture Award for a student or a team of students involved in entrepreneurship training.

The MIE will draw on the work of the Warwick Manufacturing Group and the Centre for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises in the Warwick Business School. It is also supported by Advantage West Midlands, the region's development agency.

The venture is being funded by the Science Enterprise Challenge and the partner univer-sities.

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