An initiative from Warwick Manufacturing Group at Warwick University is helping small businesses across the region launch innovative new products.
Innovation-Direct.com gives small manufacturing businesses an opportunity to bring these to the marketplace and it is now expanding its expertise to start-ups and inventors.
In the past help has been given to launch a wide range of innovative products, from a new variable gas valve to a redesigned guard for bunions and the improved design of Soccer Buddy International's football mannequins - which are now being brought by Premier League football clubs.
Brian Miles, programme director of Innovation-Direct.com and his team, have invited start-up businesses and inventors to come forward and receive the help to take their ideas to another level.
Mr Miles said: "We know that many small businesses, sole traders and inventors have genuine hopes for their projects to be a success but sometimes there is a reticence among some of them to come forward and put their products under the spotlight."
Innovation-Direct.com is keen to make contact with start-up businesses and inventors clubs across the West Midlands as well as business organisations, especially those which serve specific ethnic communities who are likely to have members pondering the next stage of development for their project.
Those who go ahead will not be required to produce their chequebooks when they see Innovation-Direct.com experts as advice is free.
Steve Whitmore, of Coventry, is one of those who received help. He designed and produced a special trailer for mobility scooters after listening to his wife.
His Freedom Trailer project emerged in a hut in the back garden after his wife Zelda's shopping bag became entangled around the starter switch of her mobility scooter, accidentally turning on the electric motor and sending the scooter off without a driver across a busy road at the Royal Show Ground at Stoneleigh.
This unexpected event set him thinking about a solution to the problem and after taking his thoughts to Innovation-Direct.com they helped him find some answers.
Another to receive help has been Steve Crutchley, managing director of Peerless Gas Controls. He wondered why gas fire control regulators only had three positions - low, medium and high. He decided to do something about it and came up with an infinitely variable valve.
Innovation-Direct.com took his existing valve apart and reduced its working parts from 20 to five and in doing so, made a creative leap in performance over valves already on the market.
The new device has won two major awards in its sector, New Control of The Year and Best Supporting Product of the Year.
The valve was recently given safety approval by Advantica, which is the safety organisation for the British gas industry.