North Devon business, Applegate Marketplace, has been awarded a grant from a £40 million UK Government investment to drive forward new technological advances.
The hotly contested Fast Start Competition, from Innovate UK, saw over 8,600 companies apply for a slice of the grant. The competition aims to fast track the development of innovations borne out of the coronavirus crisis and support the UK’s next generation of cutting-edge start-ups.
The grant will support Applegate in further development of its artificial intelligence systems. In particular, the non-commercial COVID-19 Supply Hub, which Applegate is running to help match supply of vital items to where they are needed. This has already seen tens of millions of items delivered to the front line in North Devon and beyond.
The funds will help support high quality jobs and training in northern Devon, and the business will again work closely with the University of Exeter Institute of Data Science and Artificial Intelligence.
MP for North Devon, Selaine Saxby, said:
It is great to hear of successes coming out of this very difficult period. It is innovative companies, such as Applegate, that will ensure North Devon come out of the pandemic with new opportunities for our local workforce. The ability of Applegate to respond rapidly to a highly dynamic marketplace has been impressive, as has their resilience in securing this funding, as the journey there has been hard.
I have been able to recommend the Applegate Covid-19 Hub to numerous colleagues across Westminster and I know they have been able to facilitate huge numbers of businesses away from the frontline of fighting the virus to remain open as they have been able to source the right PPE. I very much hope more local businesses in North Devon are adapting themselves to this new normal, and those currently closed are preparing to re-open.
Congratulations to Applegate on their success. I look forward to seeing their exciting work develop, and I hope this goes on to inspire other individuals and businesses to follow their lead in developing similar cutting-edge technology across North Devon.
Stuart Brocklehurst, Chief Executive at Applegate Marketplace Ltd, said:
This grant supports cutting edge Artificial Intelligence research taking place in North Devon. When I heard how many businesses had applied, I thought the odds would be against us; I couldn’t be more delighted for the vote of confidence this grant represents both for Applegate and for North Devon as a place to build an innovative high-tech business. In these difficult times, it may well be that more firms will see that rural areas can have their benefits overcrowded cities as places to build the businesses of tomorrow.
Image: Selaine with Stuart Brocklehurst at an event in Westminster in February.