Innovation 50 Project launches to support business growth in Essex

Essex Innovation Programme & Anglia Ruskin University launch Innovation 50 ProjectThe Essex Innovation Programme (EIP) and Anglia Ruskin University’s International Business School (LAIBS) have just launched a new initiative called the Innovation 50 Project.  The project, which will run over the next three years, aims to identify important characteristics and strategies of the 50 fastest growing small to medium sized (SMEs) business in Essex. Not only will the study be a celebration of the work being done by successful companies, it will also enable an understanding of how businesses looking to grow can best be supported in the future.

How the University and business collaborate
The partnership between Essex County Council and the University’s International Business School (LAIBS) has been set up to encourage the sharing of expertise and good practice to support economic growth in the region. The Innovation 50 Project aims to build on this success. A PhD student has already been recruited to lead the study and a website will follow later in the year to encourage businesses to share ideas.

About the Essex Innovation Programme
Essex County Council’s Essex Innovation Programme (EIP) has worked with many companies over the last 10 years. Their team of experienced, private sector professional business advisors help companies, small and established, to grow and commercialise new products and services.

“Innovation 50 builds on the exciting work we have already been doing to establish the conditions in Essex for innovation and prosperity.

Essex is a great place to do business and by looking at our highest growth small to medium sized companies, we want to learn how we can continue to foster innovation and create opportunities that will benefit employees, employers and the community at large. We have already felt the benefit of combining our skills and knowledge with the expertise University staff have to offer and Innovation 50 strengthens our relationship further.”

Sarah Bell, Innovation and Sector Development Manager, Essex Innovation Programme

The Lord Ashcroft International Business School (LAIBS)
The International Business School at ARU is a leading practice-based business school and is one of the largest business schools in the East of England. They are committed to business and management education and offer design bespoke work-based learning programmes aligning study to the needs of employee and organisation alike with an emphasis on learning in business about business.

“We are extremely excited about building on the work we have already done with the Essex County Council. This Knowledge Transfer Partnership strengthens those ties to enable us to assist in fostering business growth in Essex and champion entrepreneurship”.

Dr Sandra Selmanovic, Project Lead

“We have had a successful partnership with Essex County Council for some time and we are particularly looking forward to the contribution that we as a University Business School can make to enable businesses to thrive.”


Dr. Rob Willis, ARU’s Director of Research 

“We will be looking to talk to and work with businesses over the course of the project. There will be opportunities for us to celebrate success and use the insights we gain to help new and existing businesses to develop.”

Sarah Bell Innovation and Sector Development Manager, Essex Innovation Programme 

Read here for more information on the Essex Innovation Programme

Emma Wakeling
Emma Wakeling

Business Innovation Manager

07921 397050


Leading on the Essex Innovation Programme and developing new support mechanisms to enable Essex businesses to grow. Managing a team of experienced private sector business mentors who work closely with multi-sectoral established businesses and start-ups to embed innovative practices. Focusing on product (including intellectual property), process, organisational and marketing innovation. Developing key collaborative strategic partnerships with industry and academia.