Making the Invisible Visible
At its annual conference for the region’s ICT businesses held on November 10, the West Midlands Regional Development Agency, Advantage West Midlands (AWM)unveiled it latest initiative to stimulate and develop ICT businesses. AWMist (A Web Map-based Information Search Tool) is the first regional interface of its kind where collaboration, business opportunity building, and partnerships can be easily forged between the region’s ICT SMEs(Small to Medium Enterprises) and those who can support and assist them, such as funding agencies, universities and business support projects.
A major challenge for the region’s ICT industry is that the excellent innovation and entrepreneurship present in the region represented by small companies is below the radar of many large organisations. Matching a SME with a business or fuunding opportunity is difficult and time-consuming with no one place to quickly search and find a partner or solution provider.
Mike Musson, the ICT Cluster co-ordinator for AWM said: “With AWMist we will be taking a large step forward to exhibiting the breadth and depth of ICT skill and innovation in the West Midlands, which is traditionally associated with manufacturing rather than the knowledge economy. We will be making the invisible visible”
In a breakthrough for OpenStreetMap, Advantage West Midlands chose OSM as its base map for AWMist. The application was developed by leading OSM contributor Frederik Ramm’s company Geofabrik in intense competition with companies offering more traditional map solutions.
AWM chose a solution based on OSM for its more open commercial terms and lack of technical restrictions when compared to rival map providers. The fact that the data for the West Midlands was collected and maintained locally was also a factor in the decision.
AWMist is released now to the region’s ICT businesses for population with data of their choice to maximise their attraction for business partners and will go live to the world in January 2010. Participating businesses and agencies will have multiple levels of viewing and editing for company profiles and contacts and will be able to search and filter according to the nature of the opportunity. For those outside the region and the AWM ICT cluster a restricted view only mode will be available
AWM aim to grow the population of participating businesses and organisations to a European-wide audience and will be using the tool globally to promote the region’s ICT businesses.
For a sneak preview go to: http://www.awmist.org/