REACTOR gamification hub looks to post-EU funding options
The REACTOR regional development programme, which has championed the benefits of gamification for local industry during its three years in existence, is seeking to continue following the cessation of EU funding at the end of the year.
“The first REACTOR event actually took place all the way back in October 2016,” says Dr Jan Storgårds, REACTOR’s project leader.
“The highlight of the project since then has been the growth and network that it has enabled – we have been connected with over 150 different types of organisations, including 76 SMEs and micro start-ups.
“The past few years with REACTOR have been extremely rewarding, not just because of the fantastic work that we have seen achieved through our support, but also the amazing people that we have met along the way.
“We have been able to support innovative SMEs through our knowledge in gamification, expertise in enterprise and connections with industry partners. Through the power of games, we have been able to give the SMEs we work with a competitive advantage, helping them to gain long-lasting tangible results in their industry. There is a real taste for innovation in Cambridge, and we have loved being at the centre of it.”
With REACTOR’s encouragement, gamification has been introduced into products and services by local SMEs.
“We were able to help them secure the best possible support when developing novel prototypes,” Jan explains. “We also enhanced this with events, workshops, training sessions, grant funding and gave them access to our incubator space.”
One of those who has made use of the incubator space is Jeremy Cooke, who runs Gameware, a locally-based games and avatar developer.
“We were able to link creative people with digital skills – it’s a two-way thing,” Jeremy says. “It’s been a pathway to employment for students.
“We used the facilities for interviewing undergraduates for entrepreneurial skills in a RAGE EU project, and REACTOR also supported a GHD Hive project at the Bradfield Centre, to deliver leading-edge hair and beauty projects to market.
“To work with a global corporation as closely as that was very exciting and gave us an insight into how the company runs – and it was all supported by REACTOR.”
The funding could yet continue. There is £11.5million of funding already in the kitty, delivered by the EU to the region’s Combined Authority, for SMEs and development in the region.
Asked to comment, a Cambridge and Peterborough Combined Authority (CPCA) spokesperson said: “The open call for SME’s and other organisations to apply for remaining European funding available – approximately £11.5m – in the CPCA business board closed on September 30.
“There will be a national reserve call in January/February which will be for remaining EU funding across England – full details of that call are not yet known nor the value.”
Jan says: “We’ll carry on working with different partnerships, including industry and academia.
“It’s not that the EU funding is running out – so far –but the Brexit situation is giving some challenges now, for the first time in the past three years.
“Projects come and go but we have a platform and we want to take it to the next level. We’ve learned a lot. This is just the beginning of SME and start-up success in the region. Through the support of Anglia Ruskin University, we will endeavour to continue our positive work and impact on local start-ups.”