Meet the team: Digital support for businesses
Earlier this month, Keele University officially launched its latest business support programme, focusing on helping local businesses and entrepreneurs to harness the transformational power of data and digital technologies.
The programme features three support channels:
- Two-day Digital Accelerator sessions will provide SMEs with the tools, insights and confidence to navigate the opportunities presented by fast-changing technologies, through expert talks and workshops;
- Digital Advisor projects provide businesses with the opportunity to engage with talented Keele students and graduates, employed as Associates, to work on bespoke projects designed to build digital capacity and capabilities within the participating organisation;
- Digital Entrepreneur support, aimed at those looking to set up a new business which features data analytics or digitalisation, is delivered through support from Keele’s highly successful business incubation team.
We recently met up with Chris Chadwick (Project Manager) and Claire Nicoll (Programme Co-ordinating Manager) to discuss how the programme can benefit SMEs and individuals across Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire – at zero-cost to participants.
Chris has a wealth of experience in the digital space within leadership and management roles, enabling him to build up in-depth knowledge across a range of digital technologies and how these can be successfully implemented in business settings. He said:
“This new programme is a great addition to the support available across the local area. By providing access to Keele’s expertise in data and digital technologies, we hope to help hundreds of local businesses and budding entrepreneurs to unlock their growth and embrace the potential of digital.
“The Accelerator sessions will be delivered through a mixture of keynote speakers, case study reviews, action learning sets and facilitated learning workshops, providing an opportunity to openly and authentically exchange ideas relating to data and digitalisation.”
Working alongside Chris, Claire brings a wealth of project management experience as well as a unique perspective, having been a small business owner and leader of the Women in Sustainability Network. She commented:
“I am thrilled to be joining this project, which offers SMEs a great opportunity to experience the scope of digital technologies available to them and to understand how it can help their business.
“The varied support on offer gives all eligible businesses a chance to gain support and guidance on the digital aspects which really matter to them, whether this be streamlining a process, maximising data sets or getting to grips with data security.”
The first Digital Accelerator sessions will take place on 4-5 July 2022, followed by further cohorts in October 2022, January 2023 and April 2023. The Digital Entrepreneur support and Digital Advisor projects will be running on a continual basis until all places have been allocated.
To find out more and to apply today, visit keele.ac.uk/digitalbusiness.
Innovation Centre 7 and its associated programmes are part-funded through a suite of funders including the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) (as part of the England 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) Growth Programme), the Research England Development Fund, and UK Government funding through the Getting Building Fund.