Businesses invited to access government-funded Pathfinder project

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Businesses in Newcastle-under-Lyme are being urged to take advantage of funded support which will help them to put innovation front and centre of their future growth

The Innovation and Productivity Pathfinder project follows a successful bid for government UK Community Renewal Funding and will enable employers to access expertise and support from Staffordshire University towards the development of innovation plans which are tailored to their businesses.

Marek Hornak, Associate Dean for Innovation and Enterprise at Staffordshire University, said: “We are delighted to offer this opportunity to all business in Newcastle and wider Staffordshire County Council districts. It will give them access to a student or graduate intern who will be placed in their business over 12 weeks to develop a bespoke innovation plan, working under the guidance of an experienced academic who will act as an Innovation Advisor for the duration.

“It will also allow businesses access to some specialist equipment such as 3D printer, robot arms and laser scanners housed in our Innovation Enterprise Zone and provide skills training for their workforce with the aims of fostering new ideas, creativity and innovation among the staff.”

The project will be delivered through the University’s Innovation Enterprise Zone and is the latest in a portfolio of innovation and skills support programmes designed to kickstart business and economic growth in the region.

Staffordshire County Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for economy and skills Philip White said:“We have a strong track record of working in partnership with Staffordshire University to attract funding to grow the region’s economy and the Innovation and Productivity pathfinder is an important investment in the county’s business community.

“We would urge any eligible businesses in need of an innovation boost to complete the simple application process and take advantage of this fully funded project.”

Notes to editors:

The UK Community Renewal Fund is a UK Government programme for 2021/22. This aims to support people and communities most in need across the UK to pilot programmes and new approaches to prepare for the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. It invests in skills, community and place, local business, and supporting people into employment.

Staffordshire University is the lead on two bids collectively worth more than £1m – the Innovation and Productivity Pathfinder submitted by Staffordshire County Council and the Boosting Digital Inclusion in Stoke-on-Trent submitted by Stoke-on-Trent City Council. It is a partner on three other bids submitted by the City Council. Stoke-on-Trent was identified as one of 100 national priority places and was successful in six bids for funding to the value of £2.5m.

Maria Scrivens

Communications Manager

t: 01782 294375

m: 07766 520339


Staffordshire University is a Civic University which plays a leading role in improving the regional economy and enhancing quality of life in local communities. We pride ourselves on being connected to the needs of students, academic partners, business and society.

We ranked 6th for social inclusion in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022 and were in the top 15 for Student Satisfaction in the Complete University Guide 2022.

Our main city campus in Stoke-on-Trent features excellent learning and teaching facilities and good transport links. We have a Centre for Health Innovation in Stafford and our Staffordshire University London campus is committed to preparing students for careers in new and emerging tech industries.