HS2 Ltd has today (Tuesday 16 June) put itself firmly at the vanguard of Britain’s technological creativity as it launches a new start-up ‘Innovation Accelerator’ at Innovation Birmingham. The Accelerator is a call out for entrepreneurial ideas that can help drive project efficiencies and create wider long-term economic benefits around the scheme.
Focused around HS2’s three innovation challenges: productivity, the environment, and the circular economy; today’s launch of the Innovation Accelerator is a call-to-arms for individuals or firms with bright ideas to help deliver Europe’s largest infrastructure project.
The online portal will be open for one month, after which time HS2 will choose five of the entered ideas to take forward on the Innovation Accelerator. The Accelerator will provide the five winning firms with commercial and technical support and rent-free working space to develop their proposal. After six months solutions will be showcased and pitched to industry investors and HS2's supply chain, which is made up of thousands of suppliers.
Launching the portal, HS2 Head of Innovation Howard Mitchell said:
“I encourage individuals and firms of all sizes - from start-ups and budding entrepreneurs to established businesses – to go online and share their ideas with HS2.
“The construction of HS2 will show the world the very best of British skills, innovation and ambition. We hope that the Accelerator programme, which is an innovation itself, will both offer new ways of delivering HS2, but also generate new jobs, technology and opportunities.”
Dr. David Hardman MBE, Managing Director, Bruntwood SciTech - Birmingham commented:
“The digital revolution is a huge priority for the West Midlands region. As the birthplace of the industrial revolution, and with deep roots in automotive and transport industries, the city of Birmingham is well placed to seek out and promote new and disruptive technologies for the transport sector.
“As the home of digital innovation within the region, the Innovation Birmingham Campus is the perfect location for the HS2 Accelerator. Our proven track record with previous and relevant partners London Midlands and National Express demonstrates the power of partnership between innovation specialists and sector leaders, creating fantastic opportunities for early stage and more established SMEs.
“We look forward to welcoming some of the region’s most exciting and disruptive tech companies onto the HS2 Accelerator programme in September.”
Products already delivered by HS2’s wider innovation programme have included devices for protecting site workers’ hearing and a device to ensure maintenance of distanced working while Covid-19 restrictions remain in place.
The Innovation Accelerator portal can be found at https://www.innovationbham.com/high-speed-two-ltd-accelerator.