In this policy briefing, Dr Chloe Billing, on behalf of the West Midlands MIT REAP team, discusses the development and analysis of a set of indicators to assess the capability to support Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the West Midlands region.
In March 2020, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) launched a pilot in the UK of a ‘lite’ version of its global ‘Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Programme’ (REAP), aimed at helping UK regions with achieving greater productivity, employment and returns from research. In collaboration with the UK Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Loughborough University, this programme seeks to deepen the collective efforts and community of practice of entrepreneurship and innovation. MIT’s theoretical and practice-based expertise and regional leadership focused on this new initiative to support productivity growth, is a defining factor in the delivery of the UK’s Local Industrial Strategies. The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) is one of six regions currently part of the programme.
With the current COVID-19 crisis, the MIT REAP West Midlands cohort has recognised the need to support the region in preparing for the ‘recovery’ stage. A key theme highlighted by the MIT faculty is strengthening both the innovation capacity (I-cap) and entrepreneurial capacity (E-cap) within a region. One of the actions of the MIT REAP West Midlands team has been to develop a set of indicators to assess the capability to support Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the region. WM-REDI have led on matching these indicators with datasets, which compare the West Midlands regional figure with the National average. Analysing these indicators will help to identify the ‘comparative advantage’ of the West Midlands and help inform decisions on local Business Support. This policy briefing highlights some initial findings from the analysis.
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The views expressed in this analysis post are those of the authors and not necessarily those of City-REDI / WM REDI, University of Birmingham.