Every business needs to keep innovating whatever its sector and size – especially in an era where customers and society expect companies to deliver solutions to some of their biggest challenges. Here are some stories of how Welsh companies are achieving their dreams through innovation.
How SMART Innovation helped CellPath achieve 15% growth and reach new markets
Early detection is critical in the successful treatment of cancer. Cellular pathology company, CellPath, specialises in this area, delivering essential histology and cytology diagnostic products and services used to diagnose cancer and other diseases.
It’s an important but also very competitive area of healthcare. That’s why CellPath approached SMART Innovation, Welsh Government’s EU-funded SMART Innovation programme, to help grow the business and succeed on the global stage.
Initially, SMART Innovation helped the Newtown-based company secure funding to purchase histology equipment so that it could trial new products in a laboratory setting. It also worked with CellPath to develop a business culture inherently focused on research and development. This has resulted in 15% growth from increased productivity and sales.
SMART Innovation expert advisors also worked with CellPath to help automate its manufacturing output. This improved productivity and allowed the business to make a higher quality product at the same cost as low manufacturing regions, such as China. That resulted in a 40 per cent increase in orders from export regions.
“The cancer diagnostics market grows by eight to 10 per cent every year, so it’s vital that we match this to ensure we can meet the demands of our customers - something we have been able to achieve thanks to the support of SMART Innovation,” explains Peter Webber, founder and chairman of CellPath.
For more, visit: Business Wales - CellPath
How Aforza tapped into Welsh R&D expertise to become an AI leader
AI is fast becoming the crucial differentiator in the highly competitive consumer goods sector.
Cloud and mobile specialist, Aforza, is helping drive this AI transformation by empowering businesses of all sizes to sell more and grow faster. And it’s doing so thanks to funding and on-going support from SMART Innovation.
Founded in 2019, Aforza chose to locate its all-important R&D division in Wales – principally so that it could gain access to Welsh universities and their pool of talented graduates.
Drawing on SMART Innovation long-established expertise in technology, Aforza was able to refine its predictive algorithmic forecasting so its consumer goods clients (they include BrewDog and Whyte & Mackay) understand when a product in store is out of stock much faster than relying on human feedback.
The SMART partnership quickly helped Aforza commercialise its offering and roll out their cloud and mobile platform to more than 25 customers in 20 different countries. In turn, the company quickly grew from a team of three to over 75.
As co-founder, Nick Eales, explains, “The support of the SMART team cannot be understated – the experts provide invaluable advice that has enabled us to not only survive but thrive during two very testing years.
SMART helped us with tech that predicted when a store is going to place a new order and know exactly what they are going to order, predict what promotions would run well, and recommend when you should visit stores.”
More information: Business Wales - Aforza
How Swallow Yachts soared to US export success with a new sailboat
In 2021, the global leisure boat market topped $42.8 million – dominated by demand from US consumers.
No wonder then that Swallow Yachts were keen to expand into the US market. To do so, the Aberteifi-based company worked with SMART Innovation to develop a new high-speed sailboat that could operate at three times the speed of a regular sailboat under engine without sacrificing comfort.
SMART’s innovation specialists worked closely with Swallow on the £180,000 Coast 250 boat, taking it from the drawing board to a concept model in just 15 months.
This new day boat has already generated quite a buzz in the leisure boat sector and helped Swallow Yachts cement its position as the leading yacht builder in Wales. It was shortlisted in the ‘Family Cruiser’ category at the 2019 European Yacht of the Year Awards and is on course to boost export capabilities – Swallow has an ambition to grow this part of the business by 20 per cent in the next two years notably in the US.
As founder Matt Newland explains: “Without the support of Welsh Government we would never have been able to receive this international recognition. With the help of SMART Innovation, we fulfilled our goal of developing a sailboat that is both fast under engine and sail.”
More information: Business Wales - Swallow Yachts