Birmingham-based IXC UK Ltd has fought back against the economic downturn to deliver a tenfold return on its public funding investment.

Launched two years ago as a Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF) funded initiative to help companies collaborate on product development, IXC UK has identified nearly 800 potential collaborative opportunities for its clients.

Now the UK’s leading practitioner in open innovation, the combined incremental value of the opportunities that have been progressed is forecast by IXC UK’s clients to be worth over £32million. Since the start of 2007, more than 60 organisations have signed up to the global knowledge network. These include UK corporations such as E.ON and Jaguar Land Rover, innovative SMEs and leading UK universities.

The client portfolio represents a gross turnover of £175billion and chief executive Mike Hield said: “Companies readily accept the principle of collaboration – they know they need to find technologies and knowhow outside their own organisations.

“Most companies, however, struggle to find suitable partners for projects and then, even if a suitable partner is found, many fear loss of confidentiality. IXC not only helps clients find partners – we’ve been dubbed a technology dating agency – but the way in which it operates makes it “safe” for organisations to talk.

“Carefully-selected intermediaries act as “go-betweens,” searching out potentially relevant connections for client companies.

“This means companies can find the technologies and know-how they need to secure new product development, all-essential cost efficiencies and faster routes to market.”