Wales's first Internet of Things (IoT) accelerator programme has been launched in a bid to turn the nation into a catalyst for connected technology.
The Internet of Things Accelerator of Wales will provide promising technology businesses with the investment, knowledge and contacts they need to develop IoT solutions.
It's a joint collaboration between Innovation Point, The Accelerator Network (TAN), Barclays Eagle Labs, Inspire Wales and the Development Bank of Wales.
Set to run across twelve weeks, the programme will identify IoT businesses in key areas such as cyber security, energy, manufacturing, education and agriculture.
Ten promising businesses will be accepted onto the programme and receive £50,000 of investment, as well as access to high-tech facilities, academic expertise and free office space.
Applications are now open and will close on 9 December. Businesses from all over the UK are being invited to apply for the programme, but firms outside of Wales will have to relocate.
Ken Skates, the Welsh economy secretary, said that the launch of the IoT accelerator was intended to encourage the development of Wales's tech sector. "It is great to see the establishment of an Internet of Things Accelerator in Wales," he said.
He continued: "Digital technology is developing at lightening speeds, and the Internet of Things focuses that change on how we live and conduct business.
"The connection of SMART devices and the analysis of the data they generate will help us to improve service delivery, productivity and resource efficiency in Wales."
He added: "Working with our partners at Innovation Point, I'm delighted that this accelerator is coming to Wales. It'll help us understand the possibilities and secure boundaries for this technology."
Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino, the creator of London's biggest IoT meet-up, claims that Wales is the perfect place to accelerate the growth of the IoT sector.
"You can make a profitable business in this space by manufacturing just 5,000 pieces and, through the production of the Raspberry Pi, Wales has the manufacturing capability that we just don't have in London. That bit is potentially the hardest piece of the jigsaw," she said.
David Warrender, CEO of Innovation Point, said: "Launching the nation's first IoT accelerator programme here in Wales is no mean feat, and is yet another example of the country's growing role in the digital revolution.
"The programme will have an intense focus on IoT security related devices and applications, providing high-potential applicants with access to a globally proven network of business mentors, high calibre partners and potential investors - all critical components of accelerated success."
The likes of Sony, Airbus, Cardiff University, Group Endeavr Wales, Sorensen, Business Wales, TechUK, Pinnacl and RS Labs have already pledged to support the acclerator.
Ian Merricks, Chair of The Accelerator Network, said: "The appetite amongst tech entrepreneurs has never been greater, with the number of individuals turning their business idea into a reality growing year on year - yet still 50% of all start-ups in the UK fail within the first five years.
"The IoTA Wales is responding to this through an intensive-growth programme that is specifically designed to help make the IoT start-up journey a shorter and more successful one."
Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns said: "Wales is a dynamic nation that is home to some of the most innovative companies in the world.
"As we prepare to leave the EU, I want Welsh innovators to seize the opportunities available to expand their companies and help us trade on the global stage.
"Industry and academia can work together to keep Wales at the forefront of technology and I hope as many companies as possible apply."
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