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Innovation Vouchers open doors for Future Safety

Oldham-based manufacturer Future Safety has reaped the benefits of collaboration with Manchester Metropolitan University, creating two new jobs and advancing its next phase of development.

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Future Safety specialises in manufacturing high performance helmets for a wide range of markets, including the emergency services, sports, industry, mining and forestry.

In 2019 the company applied for GC Business Growth Hub’s Innovation Vouchers, designed to bolster business innovation by encouraging academic partnerships and new research and development activities.

Managing Director Colin Holmes talks to the Hub about how Future Safety has benefitted from the scheme so far:

We need to protect our key workers

The last few months have shown exactly how important it is for key workers like paramedics and the fire and rescue services to have the right safety equipment. We’ve seen shortages of PPE (personal protective equipment) for frontline staff, as well as the sourcing of inadequate equipment, to try and keep them safe while they’re putting their lives on the line for us.

It’s crucial to remember that they don’t just need innovative safety products during a pandemic, they have jobs that are always potentially dangerous, and Future Safety is dedicated to designing and creating headwear that protects them and enables them to get on with their jobs. That’s why we’re always listening to their feedback and seeking new ways to help them overcome problems.

During this COVID-19 crisis we have been offering free visors with visor carrier and helmet fittings for our Manta helmets so that volunteer search and rescue teams can stay safe while saving people’s lives in the middle of a pandemic. They’re heroes who don’t get paid to do their jobs, so offering donations is our way of saying thank you.

You’ve always got to look for new opportunities to grow

We’re a family business and have been around for close to 30 years, but until quite recently we’d never really considered or had the knowhow to join forces with a local university. The Innovation Vouchers scheme has been hugely important for our next phase of development, bringing access to a team of academics and professors at Manchester Metropolitan University.

They’ve helped Future Safety to ensure that our product development is truly evidence-based and aligned with the latest studies into areas such as traumatic brain injury and materials performance design.

Being involved with this scheme has helped us to create two new positions, which is great news within a business like ours. Our employees are our family and to be able to bring new people in, especially at a challenging time like this for the economy is a huge bonus.

It’s important to build a network with expertise and experience

This has been a hugely valuable exercise, opening doors and enhancing our network, which I’m proud to say now includes academic experts with a real understanding of the various challenges we face in our industry, and most importantly, of the environments in which our safety products are required.

Sharing knowledge with people within our industry and from the worlds of academia can only be a benefit to all of us and schemes like this play an important role in bringing us all together in ways we couldn’t have imagined before. I’m excited to see where this journey will take us and the difference we can keep making for our customers and employees because of it.

GC Business Growth Hub’s Innovation Vouchers scheme makes access to expertise, funding and knowledge simple, and helps SME businesses to identify and progress innovative opportunities from concept to implementation. 

The scheme is open to any SME business based in Greater Manchester that meets the full criteria and has potential for growth innovation opportunities that are new to the organisation or marketplace. For more information go to: Innovation Vouchers scheme.

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