Eight universities from the Midlands have launched a new investment firm to help spinouts in the region commercialise ideas born out of academia.
Midlands Mindforge is looking to raise up to £250m in long-term capital to back spinouts and early-stage companies from the region.
Professor Trevor McMillan OBE, chair of Midlands Innovation Board and vice chancellor of Keele University, said: “Midlands Mindforge will allow our universities to scale up their research and enterprise activity.
“It is a catalyst for building ground-breaking businesses that help to boost economic growth, create highly-skilled jobs and support the UK’s bid to be a global science and technology superpower.”
The initiative is being launched by Aston University, the University of Birmingham, Cranfield University, Keele University, the University of Leicester, Loughborough University, the University of Nottingham and the University of Warwick.
Midlands Mindforge is following a similar blueprint to Northern Gritstone, an investment firm set up by universities in Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield to support spinouts in the North of England. Last week, Northern Gritstone secured £30m from British Patient Capital.
“The Midlands has always been associated with exceptional invention and creativity, but has long experienced significant underinvestment and consequently productivity levels have lagged behind the rest of the UK,” said Sir John Peace, chairman of the Midlands Engine Partnership.
Andy Street, mayor of the West Midlands, said: “Many brilliant ideas and top businesses have spun out from Midlands universities and this new venture will help us to advance that agenda and retain more of our innovative success stories within our region.”
Midlands Mindforge marks the latest tech boost for the region. Last month, the West Midlands Combined Authority appointed Martin Ward as the region’s first tech commissioner.
Other funding initiatives to support businesses in the Midlands include the recently launched £25m SME West Midlands Co-investment fund.