Small businesses in the recycling sector will be offered support to help them grow, through new funding opportunities launched by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) at the recent RWM exhibition.
In total, £100,000 of funding will be available until March 2006 and will be split equally between the Interim Manager Scheme and the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) scheme. The schemes, which have already generated interest, will effectively be pilot projects, with their success evaluated at the end of the current funding period.
WRAP have identified that the rapid growth in the recycling sector means that many small and medium sized enterprises have opportunities for expansion along with the potential to develop new technologies and products. But they may lack the necessary management skills or knowledge to deal with protecting their intellectual property.
The Interim Manager Scheme has been developed in consultation with industry bodies. It will offer financial support to businesses, up to £40,000, so they can recruit highly skilled executives on a short-term basis. This will allow companies to hire interim managers with experience of the commercial issues they are facing.
WRAP director of business and procurement programmes Steve Creed said the idea was that companies could use interim managers to "bridge over troubled periods".
The IPR scheme is designed to help businesses protect their ideas, so making them more attractive to investors. It has been developed in consultation with the Chartered Institute of Patent Agents (CIPA), with 12 CIPA members being appointed to act as advisors on the scheme.
CIPA president Michael Harrison said: "Innovations, like new processes or products, are the driving force of industry growth. Protecting these ideas provides an incentive for people to come up with more."
Small or medium sized companies recycling one or more of the materials within WRAP's remit can call WRAP on 01296 819611 for an application form.