A Midlands firm has proved it is on the right track after landing £30,000 in funding to help develop an innovative air cooling system for trains.
Leamington industrial design consultants, Creactive Design, is in the later stages of developing the energy efficient system which is called cabcool.
The system, which uses about a third of the energy of standard air conditioning units, has already attracted interest from a series of national train operators following the success of a similar product on the London underground network.
Once the product is formally launched it is expected to attract orders worth millions of pounds.
In order to develop the product, the New Street based company applied for a special grant from the Advantage Proof of Concept Fund and received £30,000 to help with prototyping, expert consultancy and the development of software for research.
The Advantage Proof of Concept Fund supports small and medium sized enterprises develop innovative new products and ideas.
It can fund a variety of activities including prototyping, registering intellectual property rights, market assessments and business planning.
The scheme provides grants of up to 75 per cent of a project’s cost – to a maximum of £30,000 – for universities and businesses to prove that their innovations have significant economic potential.
The fund has so far awarded more than £2 million to successful applicants and has about £3.8 million still available.
Tony Hume, engineering director for Creactive Design, said: “The Advantage Proof of Concept Fund has been excellent.
“Without it we would have had to find the money ourselves and take people off other projects, rather than recruiting external help, which would have put extra strain on the workforce. The funding has moved the project on a lot faster. Being able to take on outside workers has meant we have been able to find solutions quicker.
“It can be quite difficult to get funding at the moment and the grant meant we wasted less time sourcing money.”
Tom Blount, from the Advantage Proof of Concept Fund, said: “The Proof of Concept Fund gets money directly into the hands of the innovative businesses which are going to drive the UK economy in the next 10 years.
“It allows businesses like Creactive Design to use the money in the way in which they think will be most effective.
“It is fantastic to see what the company has already achieved and we are delighted to have been able to support them in their latest venture,” Mr Blount added.
“This is a perfect example of how this scheme can support fledgling businesses and we would encourage any other eligible organisations to contact us as soon as possible and avoid missing out.”
The fund was set up by the University of Warwick Science Park with funding from Advantage West Midlands and the European Regional Development Fund.
It is run in collaboration between the University of Warwick Science Park, Connect Midlands, the University of Wolverhampton, Malvern Hills Science Park, the Central Technology Belt and the Staffordshire and Black Country Business Innovation Centre.