WMTN said the role of universities in the development of business was gaining recognition in local and central government.
The work of the WMTN has been part funded by the European Regional Development Fund to help minimise both the costs and risks to business associated with essential research and development activities; it has also opened up opportunities for small businesses to access university resources that would only have previously been available to larger companies with substantial research and development budgets.
WMTN partner Dr Alan Collins, director of business development at the University of Wolverhampton, said: "In the current economic climate it is going to be the smaller businesses that struggle the most, yet it is also the innovation coming out of small businesses that can help the economy come out stronger after the downturn.
The new funding will enable the WMTN
to help small and medium sized businesses with design, process and product development until the middle of 2008, and to offer support to develop higher level vocational skills.
This brings the two WMTN
phases to a total in excess of pounds 26 million.
is a collaboration of nine partners which collectively offers engineering product design and manufacturing consultancy, free-of-charge, to small to medium-sized enterprises.
partner providing the assistance on this occasion was the Technology Innovation Centre (TIC), also based in Birmingham.
The results that were achieved by the WMTN
were very good.
Tony Corbett, WMTN
programme manager, said: 'I was extremely pleased with the high attendance level.
In real terms, the WMTN will assist businesses that fulfil the required criteria with a 'turnkey offering' of services from the conception of a design to the marketing of the final product.
Tony Corbett, WMTN programme manager, added: 'The West Midlands Technology Network is an exciting and challenging venture, which will bring together the expertise of education establishments and other centres of excellence to support eligible small and medium-sized enterprises in the West Midlands.