CompoWorld's Innovation Programmes
An innovation project is a research project aimed at the implementation and further development of technological knowledge and prototypes. Innovation projects are based upon the deployment of existing and new knowledge.
One of the aspects of the CompoWorld programme consists of stimulating and facilitating joint innovation projects with knowledge centres and commercial companies. These are projects based on using existing and new knowledge. This is a new initiative to stimulate the development of composite products, applications and production and thereby promote growth in industry and employment in North Flevoland. This programme came to its annual conclusion in November 2012 when four businesses were awarded a cheque.
1/3 of the budget is financed by the companies, 1/3 by knowledge institutions and 1/3 by CompoWorld. Along with the knowledge centre, either one or up to a maximum of five companies can participate in a single innovation project. The project proposals are assessed by an independent committee commissioned by the board of the CompoWorld Foundation. The primary assessment criteria are as follows:
- Creation of additional employment opportunities in North Flevoland
- Quality of the innovation
- The substance of the proposal
- The role of the SME in the project.
SME scheme for innovative projects
There are countless options and they can be applied in any sector. As well as structures made entirely of composites, hybrid structures, in which existing materials are combined with composites, are also possible. A research project has been set up to implement and develop technological knowledge and prototypes relating to:
- Composites and materials development;
- The transition from metal to composites;
- Production methods for composite applications;
- Design methodologies for composite applications;
- Sustainability in relation to the production and use of composites.
To stimulate innovation in composites applications, CompoWorld has set up an additional scheme for SMEs. This comprises a group of at least three SMEs, at least one of which comes from (North) Flevoland.
For many companies, the route to production is long. Only a small proportion of innovations make it to the production stage. At the end of 2013, an incubator for start-up entrepreneurs and spin-offs of existing companies was set up. In the start-up phase, facilities can be provided in a private production area, whilst at the same time the entrepreneur can benefit from the expertise and machinery there. The CompoWorld foundation has set up the second incubator in collaboration with the NLR in Marknesse. The layout of this incubator will be completely different because the NLR has a very high level of technical knowledge and machinery.
The board of CompoWorld is appealing to entrepreneurs (tech start-ups) who have plans and want to use the incubator. With the support of CompoWorld and its experts, they can further develop their composite product to the production stage. In addition to having the use of the machines and other equipment, they also have access to their own lockable office space in Emmeloord and Marknesse. This space can be hired for a maximum of three years. After that, the start-up entrepreneur has to stand on his own two feet.
All project proposals are assessed by independent board members. The criteria on which the projects are assessed include: the effect upon employment in (northern) Flevoland, the quality of the innovation and the role of the SME in the project.