Innovation audit gets thumbs up from Hampshire Chamber and Future South

The innovation audit has been welcomed by Stewart Dunn, Hampshire Chamber Chief Executive and Chair of Future South.

Government-backed plans to assess the South’s digital technology strengths ahead of potential funding have been welcomed by Hampshire business leaders.

The go-ahead for a region-wide ‘science and innovation audit’ is the first step towards a fresh wave of investment in companies developing leading-edge solutions.

Sectors active in Hampshire that could benefit include advanced engineering, marine, aerospace, bioscience and green technology.

The move, revealed in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement, followed a bid to ministers by Innovation South, a consortium of businesses, local authorities, local enterprise partnerships, universities and inward investment organisations.

Hampshire Chamber of Commerce, Solent LEP and the green tech-focused Future South are partners in the group which is led by the Enterprise M3 LEP.

Stewart Dunn, Hampshire Chamber Chief Executive and Chair of Future South, said: “The audit will help to gather a robust evidence base showing the world-leading research and innovation taking place in clusters across our region.

“Participants range from global corporates to SMEs, micros and individual entrepreneurs.

“This data collection activity will then pave the way for potential investment to drive future prosperity.

“For Hampshire Chamber’s part, we will certainly be doing our bit alongside other consortium partners to help with the audit and enable our region to take full advantage of what funding opportunities there may be in the future.”

The audit was also welcomed by Dr David Hutchinson, a Future South board member and the Innovation and Impact Development Manager at the University of Portsmouth’s Faculty of Technology. The University is another Innovation South partner.

Dr Hutchinson said: “Science and innovation audits inform policy development and industrial strategy in different regions, identifying where research strength, innovation capability and potential markets are aligned.

“The Innovation South decision shows the government has recognised that Hampshire and the South are being successful in science and innovation and have potential for further growth.”

Following the Chancellor’s announcement, the Enterprise M3 LEP will work with consortium partners and the government to deliver the audit over the coming months.