A woman is looking to speak to Oldham businesses as part of a drive to help them capitalise on new potential commercial opportunities.

Karen Fitzpatrick, from the Greater Manchester Business Growth Hub, became the new Local Innovation Connector for Oldham last year, which sees her support companies that are working in emerging technologies and identify those suitable for enrolment onto the region’s accelerator programme, Innovation Navigator.

Included among the number of businesses that have contacted her so far are many looking to embrace the potential of artificial intelligence, including machine learning and data analytics.

Ms Fitzpatrick said: “Given Oldham’s dynamism and entrepreneurial culture, it’s no surprise that businesses here want to stay at the forefront of innovation and harness new technologies.

"It’s been great learning about their ambitions and being able to help drive their projects forward.”

Ms Fitzpatrick is also looking to hear from those working across other industries, who can equally benefit from Innovation Navigator’s focus on accelerating the commercialisation of products and services.

She said: “There are strong commercial opportunities from the green agenda for manufacturers looking to develop sustainable, environmentally-friendly materials or those aiming to help businesses reduce carbon emissions, which Innovation Navigator can fast-track.

“And for businesses operating within healthcare and life sciences, the programme provides the chance to translate clinical research into commercial products, connect with leading researchers, and be guided through complex regulatory challenges.”

Innovation Navigator is run by the publicly-funded GM Business Growth Hub, which has helped more than 90,000 companies across Greater Manchester since being founded in 2011.

The programme is due to run until March next year and is offered free of charge to eligible businesses in Oldham.

As well as benefiting from fully-funded bespoke support, firms are able to access potential funding from a £1.6m Innovation Grant Fund.

Ms Fitzpatrick, who has more than two decades of experience helping and developing enterprises of different sizes, said: “I am determined to engage with as many businesses as possible, of all sizes, that would benefit from what I consider to be unique support.

“Start a conversation with me now – before August arrives and the year starts to fly by – and see where it takes you. We’d love to be able to help accelerate your innovations and unlock your growth.”

Yvonne Grady, head of innovation at GM Business Growth Hub, said: “Karen is a fantastic resource for businesses.

"She’s been embedded within the Oldham business community for several years and is the ideal contact for companies here who need help speeding up their route to market.

“It’s such an exciting time for the borough, with Atom Valley set to transform an already dynamic business community, and I’m proud that Innovation Navigator is playing a crucial role in helping to make innovations a reality.”

Borough-based businesses that want to find out more about Innovation Navigator can call Ms Fitzpatrick on 07570 263880 or email karen.fitzpatrick@growth.co.uk.