KEEN to grow West Midlands business

Forward thinking businesses in the West Midlands are being encouraged to improve their profitability by working with the region’s universities on a new knowledge exchange scheme.

The University of Wolverhampton is leading the Knowledge Exchange and Enterprise Network (KEEN) which is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) until July 2015.

KEEN helps small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to realise their potential through working with a recent graduate, known as an Affiliate, who is recruited to work full-time on a commercial growth project, developed in association with the University.

The programme can run between six months and two years, giving the Affiliate the opportunity to make an impact and embed the positive outcomes of their project within the company. They are mentored throughout the process by a University expert and are able to access the University’s resources and expertise.

KEEN Regional Manager, Marc Fleetham, said: “The new KEEN scheme is an exciting one for the region. We are in challenging times for all business, but in particular SMEs, who may lack specific knowledge and experience, keeping them from growing their business and profitability. KEEN is designed to assist SMEs through the practical application of knowledge within a live commercial environment.”

The Universities taking part in the scheme have a strong track record in Knowledge Transfer and have worked in partnership over the past two years on the highly successful West Midlands Knowledge Transfer Partnership programme, part funded by the European Regional Development Fund, Advantage West Midlands and the Technology Strategy Board.

Turnaround from application to approval is typically three weeks on KEEN, meaning that Affiliate recruitment periods are minimised and projects can start quickly, helping businesses to move forward and remain competitive. Average company cost is £23,750 per annum.

Many different disciplines can be accessed such as business process, design and technology and marketing, which are areas that SMEs often find challenging.

To find out more about KEEN:

Visit: www.wlv.ac.uk/keen

Call: 01902 321272 Email: enquiries@wolverhamptonbsc.com

Follow on Twitter @wmkeen

ENDS

For more information please contact Vickie Warren in the Media Relations Office on 01902 322736

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