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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 10th Sep 2013



Chamber Group Press Team -Birmingham Chamber of Commerce - 10 September 2013

The latest phase of an initiative intended to help high-tech companies in the West Midlands develop viable, money-making mobile applications has been launched by the Serious Games Studio (SGS). The project will support regional small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) to innovate serious game and mobile app concepts into marketable products. The project is supported by £499,800 from the European Regional Development Fund, which is managed by the Department for Communities and Local Government and matched by Coventry University Enterprises Ltd.

The SGS project is being administered by Coventry University’s Serious Games Institute (SGI), which promotes the work of digital media companies and supports growth in the sector through research and development.

It is aimed at West Midlands SMEs who have an idea for a mobile app or serious game and who require support in order to develop the concept. It is the only programme of its kind in the region to provide tailored business assistance in app development.

George Constantinou, project manager at Coventry University’s Serious Games Institute, said: “The first stage of the project began in August 2010 and ran successfully until July 2013. The activity was very well received within the region and saw our dedicated team of technical experts and researchers working with local companies on the practical aspects of taking their ideas for apps and working them up into functioning prototypes.

“During this period, the project helped 59 SMEs to get their app concepts off the ground and in addition to design and planning, the next phase will provide more detailed guidance on the business model, more in-depth analysis of the market as it stands and advice on the all-important pricing strategy that is vital to the fortunes of any new app.

“The success of the initial phase of the Serious Games Studio project has led to a high level of interest from SMEs wishing to engage in the next round and with our increased business and marketing focus, the intention is to also encourage potential investors to come on board.

“The skills of our delivery team in providing solutions across all digital media platforms are very much sought after by regional businesses and the opening round of the Serious Games Project saw small tech firms, start-up companies and entrepreneurs coming to us for advice and practical support on how to develop their initial ideas into workable concepts.

“As with all technology the landscape changes at an alarming rate and the SGS project team are able to share their knowledge and experience with SMEs who are just beginning their app journey.

“We’ll be focussing on helping developers transform their products from functional, technically robust prototypes into market-ready, sellable applications which can be presented to investors or larger organisations and then hopefully commissioned for commercial release.

“Through high value digital media related activities like the SGS project we are helping to support economic development in the region “

Norman Price, deputy chair of the West Midlands ERDF Local Management Committee said: “IT and the interactive media world are ever changing not only in terms of what new technology can offer but the way we as customers use it. To ensure businesses remain competitive and in touch with their consumers they need to adapt and keep up to speed, finding new ways that tap into this expanding growth area. We are already strong in the West Midlands within this area but could be stronger.

“Ideas of how to do this within a business are often already formed but the practical details of how to make it happen can be tricky to find. This project helps solve the mystery with the combination of a useful toolkit, guidance and one to one sessions with experts in this field.”

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