Funding Success for partnership project with GTU, Georgia

A third year of funding has been awarded to a partnership project being led at Keele University by Dr Colin Rigby from Keele Business School, and Professor Peter Andras and Philippa Chapman from the School of Computing and Maths.

Keele University’s project is with Georgian Technical University, Tbilisi, Georgia and is part of the British Council's Creative Spark Higher Education Enterprise Programme. This is a five-year initiative to support international university and institutional partnerships to develop enterprise skills and the creative economy across seven countries in Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan), South Caucasus (Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia) and Ukraine, through UK support.  The programme has been developed in response to a demand for entrepreneurship training in the programme countries, supporting wealth and job creation. Partnerships aim to support the following areas;

  • Skills development for students and young creative entrepreneurs
  • Supporting new business activation and incubation
  • Knowledge exchange

The team from Keele University have worked with 150 students, academics and administrative staff throughout the project so far on initiatives including train the trainer programmes, Big Idea video pitching competitions, business English courses and study visits to the UK.

Achievements from years one and two of the project include development of;

  • An “Applied Entrepreneurship” academic syllabus
  • A long term strategic plan for GTU's innovation Centre
  • A communication strategy and online platform
  • Annual pitching competition
  • Other activities aimed at providing inspiration to look for sustainable development and motivation to bring together students, academics, entrepreneurs and relevant Georgian organisations to formulate and develop innovative new practices and products with a focus on the creative industries.

Dr Rigby said "The Creative Spark programme has been immensely rewarding for all concerned and we have already seen the impact it is having across the region. Entrepreneurship is flourishing at GTU after two years of collaboration and we are all looking forward to continuing the project through years three, four and five."

The £20,000 funding for year three of the project will go towards initiatives including;

  • Ongoing monitoring and development of the GTU Innovation Centre strategy (and development of additional services including a Visiting Professor programme)
  • Finalisation and roll out of an Applied Entrepreneurship syllabus (full course and shorter training programmes) and translation/creation of supporting materials in Georgian language
  • Joint hosted conference (with other members of the newly created Georgian Enterprise Education Alliance, GEEA)
  • A GTU hosted Entrepreneurship Day
  • A GTU study visit to Keele University
  • An annual Big Idea Challenge Competition (run at and by GTU with KU support)
  • Support for staff and students wishing to improve their English language and business language skills
  • Ongoing strengthening of networks, locally, regionally, nationally and internationally