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Swansea virtual reality business gets funding boost

A high-tech Swansea business that specialises in immersive technology and virtual reality has been given a funding boost to help take it to the next level.

Swansea Council has awarded Uplands-based Imersifi with a business growth grant, which has helped cover the costs of new equipment and software.

​Imersifi was set up by Swansea University graduates Jack Bengeyfield and Joe Charman, who both have masters degrees in virtual reality.

​The business uses virtual reality headsets and software for use in staff training, simulation, entertainment and education.

​Some of the work Imersifi has done includes the development of a virtual reality training application for junior cardiovascular doctors at the Swansea Bay University Health Board.

​The company also developed virtual reality simulations for emergency tracheostomy management and bronchoscopy learning, in collaboration with Rescape Health. This is aimed at helping improve hospital patient outcomes by enabling doctors to practice procedures in a safe and controlled environment.

​The Swansea Council business growth grant, funded by the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, helped towards the costs of two new virtual reality headsets. It also helped cover the purchase of new laptops and computer memory to support the graphics needed to run software through the headsets.

​The new equipment means the company can now improve their existing offer for virtual reality training for workplaces in areas including fire safety.

Jack Bengeyfield said: “We really appreciate the support from Swansea Council because the funding is helping us continue to develop our cutting-edge virtual reality technology, which is a flexible and cost-effective way for employers to improve skills and knowledge.

​”Thanks to the purchases the grant has helped cover, we can ensure we’re providing the most advanced and immersive virtual reality experience to our clients.”

​Joe Charman said: “The new equipment will help maintain Imersifi at the forefront of the virtual reality training market and further develop our virtual reality fire safety training product, which will roll out with Welsh language options too.

​”It will also support our ongoing research and development work, which is important to differentiate ourselves from competitors, drive business growth and potentially employ staff.”

​Cllr Robert Francis-Davies, Swansea Council’s Cabinet Member for Investment, Regeneration and Tourism, said: “Swansea has such a fantastic business community, from innovative newer businesses like Imersifi to large companies.

​”They’re thoroughly deserving of our assistance, which is why business support is one of the key themes of the Shared Prosperity Fund in Swansea.

​”I’d encourage businesses throughout the city to head to the business support section of the council’s website to explore all the funding opportunities and other support that’s on hand.”

​As well as business growth grants, a number of other grants are available for Swansea businesses to apply for. They include pre-start grants for start-ups, carbon reduction grants and website development grants.

​Other grants include a supplier development grant to help businesses fund the costs of accessing training for the accreditation that’s needed to bid for public sector or larger-scale contracts.

​A property development fund is also available to help developers with the costs of constructing or expanding buildings for industrial use in Swansea that would create employment.