These men look pretty pleased with themselves and why not. Don't be fooled by the picture: they haven't reinvented the wheel or auditioned to replace Jeremy, James and Richard on Top Gear. (Sorry guys, you just don't have that middle-aged public schoolboy look.) No, these are the faces behind Productiv Limited, a new UK business created to help bring new technology developers to the marketplace.

Productiv's support should create a mutually beneficial way for small- and medium-sized companies to work with international vehicle manufacturers and their tier 1 suppliers. Chief executive Richard Bruges (above, centre) says “It links new technology developers with the investment, engineering, production and commercial partners necessary for bringing upcoming low carbon technologies to market.”

These are tough times for European vehicle manufacturers with customers increasingly nervous about splashing out on a new set of wheels. Then they face a decade of worrying about huge fines, should they fail to to meet emissions regulations targets. What can be done?

That's where the superheroes of Productiv come in. The company will allow both the technology producers and their end users to start small and keep risks low, beginning with low-volume production runs of up to 20,000 units.

The innovators, movers and shakers will get expert help from Productiv about developing their product and satisfying their customers but without having to give up valuable intellectual property rights.

For the manufacturers, Bruges says they'll be able to "access essential new technologies from outside their supply chain without exposing themselves to unacceptable risks of dealing direct with small businesses".

This sounds like a veiled reference to some of the mad inventors you see every week on Dragons' Den. So it's appropriate that Productiv will be involved in the technology presentations at this week's Low Carbon Vehicle Event at Rockingham, hosted by Cenex.

Major vehicle manufacturers, including BMW, General Motors and Jaguar Land Rover will sit in on a series of five-minute presentations from the technology developers. Bruges hopes the focus will be on problem solving and in particular on emissions reduction solutions.

Will this new spin on Dragons' Den be friendly and non-confrontational? We hope so.

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