Hundreds more local SMEs set to prosper from extension of Keele University innovation programmes
Hundreds more local organisations are set to benefit from increased access to world-leading expertise and resources, following an expansion of Keele University’s exclusive business support programmes.
Since launching in 2017, Keele’s programmes have boosted the growth and development of more than 600 Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire-based businesses, creating over 110 new jobs and launching 115 new products, services or processes.
And now, thanks to funding extensions facilitated by the European Regional Development Fund*, around 150 more innovation-led enterprises across the local area will be able to take advantage of the specialist expert support available through the University’s Smart Innovation Hub, Smart Energy Network Demonstrator, and Business Bridge programmes.
This announcement comes just a week after the Minister for Climate Change visited Keele University’s Horwood Energy Centre to hear how the Keele campus has been transformed into a world-class Smart Energy Network Demonstrator (SEND). This is a European first ‘at scale living laboratory’ that enables the testing, development and evaluation of new and evolving low carbon energy technologies and supports hundreds of businesses to embed sustainability throughout their organisations.
Accessible through the University’s Keele Gateway, these programmes are able to offer a wide range of collaboration and development opportunities, including:
- Support in the development of new low carbon technologies that will enable local solutions to the global challenge of climate change
- Access to experts, specialist facilities and collaborations for businesses operating in and around the healthcare and medical technologies sectors
- Prestigious innovation leadership programmes for knowledge-intensive businesses
- Masterclasses for both early-stage and established small business owners
- Research and innovation support programmes to aid those businesses that are developing new products, processes or services.
The programmes – which are exclusively available to eligible businesses based in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire – are all fully-funded, meaning that the only cost to the participating businesses is their time.
Paul Hodgkinson, Associate Director for Programme and Project Delivery, said: “We are delighted that we’ve been able to extend our business support programmes, enabling us to work in partnership with even more of the exciting and innovative organisations that call Staffordshire home.
“Since launching the New Keele Deal in 2017, our collaborations with the local business community have had a significant impact on the region, resulting in the creation of many higher value new jobs and supporting the local economy during times of prolonged uncertainty.
“This positive contribution to the growth and regeneration of the local area, achieved in-part through these programmes, is officially among the strongest in the country, and we look forward to enabling even more businesses, and their surrounding communities, to recover, grow and thrive through this extension.”
The following support programmes are receiving funding from the England European Regional Development Fund, as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020, and the Midlands Engine:
- Keele University Science & Innovation Park Smart Innovation Hub (Ref: 32R17P01691);
- Smart Energy Network Demonstrator (Ref: 32R16P00706);
- Business Bridge (Ref: 32R18P02530).
The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund.
Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding.
The Keele University Science & Innovation Park Smart Innovation Hub is also part-funded by Staffordshire County Council with support from the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership.