Supporting SMEs through DIGI-RAIL

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What is DIGI-RAIL and how can SMEs benefit? Dr Al-Amin Dabo, Business Engagement Manager explains…

The DIGI-RAIL project held its launch event on Friday 22 March. The project, partly-funded by ERDF, focuses on bringing together key rail industry buyers with West Midlands SMEs and the University’s research and technical expertise.

The launch event was well attended, with companies from a variety of sectors including rail, automotive, technology, engineering, IT services, and Marketing. It was great to see a display of product and service offerings, all dedicated towards adding value to the rail industry. This, I believe, is necessary to spur the innovation and change required to make UK railways better and more efficient.

I spoke with numerous delegates and the discussions on the floor ranged in nature but typically centered on the digitalisation of the rail industry, and the role SMEs can actually play in that. The discussions were not just about opportunities but also about accessibility of opportunities. Helping SMEs to understand and identify accessible opportunities in the industry is what the DIGI-RAIL project is all about. The project offers world class technical expertise from the University and UKKRIN, but also industrial support, guidance and market intelligence through the Rail Alliance. This combined offering is very unique and will go a long way in supporting ideas from conceptualisation right through to commercialisation.

The core aim for us is to make regional businesses aware of the project, the opportunities in the rail industry and to collaborate with them to access them. The attendance and reception of the launch event was certainly a good indicator of the success to come.

Dr Al-Amin Dabo, Business Engagement Manager, DIGI-RAIL

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