ATI Innovation For Business Conference 

ATI Innovation For Business Conference 

ATI Legacy of Innovation in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly

Led by the University of Plymouth and funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), ATI has provided bespoke business innovation support to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) throughout Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
Over the course of its two successive projects, ATI (2017–2020) and ATI2 (2020–2023), the programme has engaged a total of 1,109 Cornish SMEs, opened 13 Pop-Up Innovation Centres, worked intensively on 280 innovation projects and awarded 100 innovation grants supporting projects with a total project value in excess of £2M. 
ATI was designed to provide businesses seeking to commercialise new opportunities with a bespoke package of support, offering innovation expertise led by recognised specialists and certified innovation professionals who delivered high value, high impact interventions leading to increased growth, scale and productivity.
ATI2 Team at Innovation for Business Conference
ATI2 Celebrating Innovation 2023 event

Support at a glance

  • 1:1 Business Innovation Advice from specialists certified by the Institute of Innovation and Knowledge Exchange (IKE).
  • Access to the University of Plymouth's world-class facilities, academic expertise and resources.
  • Professional consultancy.
  • Innovation workshops and surgeries, including: Intellectual Property (IP) Protection, Research & Development (R&D), Design Thinking, Bringing a Product to Market.
  • Innovation Masterclasses delivered on behalf of IKE.
  • Innovation Grants from £1,500 to £25,000 supporting innovation projects in: proof of market, proof of concept, prototyping, IP protection, next product or service generation.
  • Knowledge sharing and engagement events, including the bi-monthly Cornwall Innovation Club (later rebranded as The Innovation Exchange) and the Innovation for Business conference.
  • Pop-Up Innovation Centres, providing: hot desks, meeting room space, advice and networking opportunities.

It is difficult for small organisations to have access to professional help in the innovation field and we couldn't have completed our project without ATI. They are now helping us to spread our message and establish a new customer base.

Tina Robinson, Founder of Our Only World

The work undertaken by ATI2’s Innovation Research Champion was absolutely instrumental to the project. It helped me demonstrate the need for the app and then sell that need to stakeholders to generate necessary investment and buy-in.

Jo Murray, founder and Managing Director of My Coast

If we hadn’t engaged with ATI2 I feel that we could be stuck in a 'norm' state. The business wouldn’t be as exciting and as innovative as it could be, and it ought to be, and that’s what drives us as a company.

Martin Jewell, Managing Director at J Supplied

ATI2 (2020–2023) key facts and figures

In its second iteration alone, ATI2 engaged 544 businesses, provided support to 386 SMEs and registered 207 businesses onto the programme.
“The final statistics for the ATI2 programme reveal that we have exceeded all our project outputs, significantly in some areas, which is a fantastic result. We really did deliver on what we set out to do right at the beginning which is immensely satisfying.

“Realising an idea and doing something different takes great courage and we are proud to have helped so many through what can be a challenging process, especially over the last three years when numerous external factors have increased the risks for SMEs pursuing innovation. It’s during these times that businesses have really needed support, not just to survive but to thrive and secure their place in the future.” – Jo Hancock, ATI Programme Manager.
Jo Hancock, ATI Programme Manager

The financial support has been a lifeline to help with the purchasing of the canning machine, particularly in winter, a period which is always a tight couple of months for us and has been made even tighter with another lockdown.

Nick Sales, Co-Founder of Black Flag Brewery

To put it bluntly, we wouldn’t have been able to develop this project without the assistance from ATI2. It’s a new area for us, it’s outside our current core practice, in the sense of developing this new model, and with the financial support through ATI2 we’ve been able to actually undertake the development. The match funding that we have received has been great and it’s a project that wouldn’t have gone ahead without it.

Dr Geoff Adderley, Senior Engineer at Paterson & Cooke (UK)

ATI have been brilliant throughout the process, not just in terms of giving us the funding but also the support from an innovation perspective. They’ve been a bit of a sounding board as much as anything. They’ve also pointed us in the right direction to speak with legal people in and around Intellectual Property and patents.

Greg Welch, Managing Director at Gendall Design
ATI2 Impact Brochure

ATI2 Summative Assessment Findings

  • 94% of SMEs stated ATI2 had a positive or significant impact on innovation and growth within their business.
  • 84% of SMEs stated the innovation project had helped future-proof their business and made it more resilient.
  • 77% of respondents stated the programme made the business a better investment proposal.
  • 75% stated that ATI2 support had improved the business’s long-term performance.
  • 62% of SMEs stated the innovation support had improved business productivity.
  • Businesses scored all elements of support in excess of 4 out of 5, highlighting the overall high quality and bespoke offer of delivery. Areas of particular note include support from the Innovation Advisors (4.5), support from a specialist or consultant (4.6) and support from an Innovation Champion (4.47).
  • 83% of businesses said they are now more aware of the support offered by the University.

Pop-Up Innovation Centres

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, five Pop-Up Innovation Centres were opened across the County as part of ATI2’s outreach activities, and to engage and support businesses throughout Cornwall. These were launched in Launceston, Hayle, Truro, St. Austell and Wadebridge. 
The Pop-Ups provided businesses and partner organisations with meeting and events space, hot desks, facilities (Wi-Fi, photo studio and 3D printing) and incubation workspace, to support and engage SMEs locally.  In total, they welcomed 613 business attendances
“The Pop-Ups are very useful, meeting there is a great excuse for networking. Especially for people like me, who usually work from home. It’s good to get out the house, to increase productivity and bounce ideas around with other innovators.” – Sam Baynham, Director of Conex Portal.
Pop-Up Innovation Centre Wadebridge

ATI2 Impact 2020–2023

ATI Impact 2017–2020

Our partners

ATI2 was led by the University of Plymouth and funded by the European Regional Development Fund. 
Robot arm 

European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)

ATI and the University of Plymouth were proud to be supported by the European Regional Development Fund. As one stream of funding under the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) Growth Programme 2014–2023, the ERDF focuses on smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.
The main priorities involve contributions to research and innovation, supporting and promoting small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs), and the creation of a low carbon economy.
European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) logo

Related projects

Here are some other projects with whom ATI have collaborated with as part of the wider support provided to businesses.

Pink pipettes in a lab test full bleed

Enterprise Solutions
Helping businesses navigate their way around the University’s internationally renowned research expertise, facilities, and business services.


Why IP matters
Businesses were able to access specialist IP support at the University as part of the bespoke package of support with ATI.

Marine Building

Research and Innovation
The ATI project was part of the Research and Innovation directorate.