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Last Updated: Sunday, 15 June, 2003, 15:19 GMT 16:19 UK
Small businesses boosted by awards
Stem cells in culture
One of the award winners is researching stem cells
A firm which works on stem cells is one of 31 regional winners of Smart awards.

The grants from the Department of Trade and Industry's Small Business Service (SBS) went to 18 firms from Cambridgeshire, four from Essex, five from Suffolk, three from Hertfordshire, one from Bedfordshire and two from Norfolk.

The grants aim to promote innovation within small businesses.

One of the winners was the British Stem Cell Registry, of Cambridge, which is working on new technology to improve the growing and storage of stem cells.

Stem cells - taken from the umbilical cords of newborn babies - can be used in some medical treatments already and have the potential for use in many more.

Other winners from across the east of England include:

  • Top Hat Productions of Norwich which is developing a supermarket trolley which can communicate with a store's central computer

  • Vimpex Ltd, of Great Wakering in Essex, which is developing a voice alarm to replace bells in fire alarms for example

    Cambridgeshire: Advanced Handling Ltd, Aperio Ltd, British Stem Cell Registry, C4Carbides plc, Corelnsight Worldwide Ltd, Cotares Ltd, CT Charlton, Diverse Technologies & Systems Ltd, Hypertag Ltd, IS Global, Eaton Socon, Layered Sound Technologies, Lobo International Ltd, Nexus Electronics, Nujira, Ver-Tec Security Systems, Xiomed
    Essex: European EMC Products Ltd, Pemberton Dear Ltd, Vettit Solutions Ltd, Vimpex Ltd
    Suffolk: Bodymetrics Ltd, Deben Marine, Lettergold Plastics Ltd, MultOPlat Ltd, Selby Technical Services,
    Bedfordshire: Line-A-Pipe Ltd
    Hertfordshire: I-Age Ltd, Omnagen Ltd, New Media Services
    Norfolk: Laplace Instruments, Top Hat Producations

  • Deben Marine, of Debenham in Suffolk, which is producing a float sensor that could predict flooding

  • New Media Services Ltd, of Baldock in Hertfordshire, which is working on simple to use software, linked to the web, that could be used for booking rooms for bed and breakfast and hotel accommodation.

    Phil Mercer, regional director for SBS, said: "The East of England proved to be one of the most successful English regions for the Smart scheme over the last year.

    "Importantly, we achieved the highest growth in successful Smart applications compared to all other English regions, demonstrating the increasing importance of supporting innovation to the regional economy.

    "With our region's tradition for producing imaginative business ideas we are expecting the new Research and Innovation Grants to be equally as popular. Our partnership with Business Links will be key to this success."

    Row over made-to-order stem cells
    12 Jul 01  |  Science/Nature

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