Business project off to a flying start

The Knowledge Exchange and Enterprise Network (KEEN) gives West Midlands based small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) the opportunity and resources to increase profitability and achieve growth.

Part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund, the programme works by forming a three-way relationship between a West Midlands based SME, a regional university and a graduate (known as an Affiliate).

KEEN was launched at RAF Cosford in July and has gone on to attract interest from various businesses.

Projects include an exercise professional role at a company that provides cardiac and exercise rehabilitation programmes. The role involves direct patient contact and work on recruitment and retention strategies. It also involves assisting the understanding and progression of cardiac rehabilitation.

Another role for a product designer is due to start soon, which entails developing and designing a new product for a company, giving the business the opportunity for further growth.

Marc Fleetham, Director of the University of Wolverhampton’s Business Solutions Department, said he was delighted with KEEN’s high-flying start.

He added: “KEEN is a much needed programme, especially given the current economic climate. The programme provides businesses with a real opportunity to move forward during these challenging times. I am pleased with the outstanding start we have made and I would advise those companies yet to take advantage of the project to come forward quickly before all the funding subsidies run out.”

Emma Pearson, KEEN Manager, develops and manages the University’s portfolio of KEEN programmes. She said: “We are looking to engage with forward thinking businesses that are at pre-innovation level. Due to the diversity and individuality of the projects, there is a wide scope for SMEs from many different fields to get involved. We are hopeful that by continuing to reach out to the business community, the programme can have a positive impact on many SMEs throughout the West Midlands.”

As KEEN is part-funded by ERDF, business process and marketing programmes are eligible for funding. There are a variety of programmes currently in place, including projects focusing on engineering and construction, along with programmes in marketing and IT.

To find out more about the opportunities KEEN can offer, phone 01902 321272.


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

Date Issued: Monday, 21 January 2013

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