Business round-up

Business round-up

Funding boost for region’s construction industry


A support organisation managed by the University of Wolverhampton has secured funding of £2.6 million to help stimulate the pressurised West Midlands construction industry.


The West Midlands Centre for Construction Excellence (WMCCE) promotes excellence and best practice across the sector and has acquired financial support from Advantage West Midlands (AWM) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The funding will help WMCCE deliver an innovative programme of business improvement services for the region’s construction industry through to the end of 2011.


The University of Wolverhampton, which manages WMCCE and provides valuable support resources including funding, will help to deliver these projects alongside partners including Business Link West Midlands.


Professor Ian Oakes, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Regional Investment and Development at the University, said: “We are delighted to have received this funding as it will allow us to continue to deliver on our commitment of providing quality assistance to the region’s hard-pressed construction industry.”


Design agency goesback to University


Two University of Wolverhampton graduates are returning to the classroom to share their expertise with designers of the future. Company directors Steve Campbell and Marie Campbell both graduated with a BA (Hons) in Graphic Communication in 2002 and set up Wolverhampton-based Début in June 2005, after gaining experience working within the design industry.


They are now regularly working alongside the marketing departments of the School of Art & Design and School of Education on newsletters, and also worked on the website and event catalogue for the recent Glass Routes exhibition.


Plans are under way for the company to take a graduate on a 10-week placement through the Knowledge Innovation Technology Transfer Scheme (KITTS) in Spring 2009. KITTS aims to match the skills of recently qualified graduates with the specific needs of small and mediumsized enterprises within the West Midlands.

Launch of entrepreneurial exchange


The University has successfully secured funding for a project to develop the skills of new entrepreneurs by working in another European Union country.


Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs is a new European exchange programme aimed at helping new entrepreneurs to acquire relevant skills for managing a small or medium-sized enterprise (SME) by spending time working in another EU country with an experienced entrepreneur in their company.


The Institute for Innovation and Enterprise (IIE) at the University has secured funding to run a project under this programme called ‘EPICentRE’ – European Placements in Centres of Regional Excellence. As part of the project IIE has established partnerships with the Kozminski University in Warsaw, Poland and the International Business School in Vilnius, Lithuania.


EPICentRE will arrange for new entrepreneurs to travel to an experienced entrepreneur in another EU country and work with them for between one and six months. IIE will match the new entrepreneur with the host entrepreneur who will either be located in Poland and Lithuania; however it may even be possible to visit other EU countries that are running similar projects. IIE will also be looking for entrepreneurial partners in the UK for entrepreneurs coming over from Poland and Lithuania.


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New language materials for estate agents praised


New language materials developed at the University to help people involved in buying property abroad have been praised by the country’s leading estate agent.


The GET REAL Lingua project has created language DVDs and course materials in English, Spanish and Bulgarian for estate agents or homebuyers, as well as a tri-lingual electronic dictionary of 1,500 property terms. The project has received the backing of the Chief Executive of the UK’s National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA), Peter Bolton-King, who praised the work of the project.


The European Union-funded project was coordinated by Mike Townsend, Associate Dean in the School of Humanities, Languages and Social Sciences. He led a partnership of three universities and three national estate agent associations in Spain, Bulgaria and the UK to create language teaching materials specifically for estate agents and property transactions.

Bizcom winners announced


Promising business ideas have been recognised at the University of Wolverhampton’s annual Bizcom awards. Students were asked to submit a business outline for an innovative idea and seven were selected to present their concept before a judging panel.


Scooping first place and a £1,000 cheque in the Business Enterprise category was Charlotte Fardon. Her business plan focused on offering an innovative retail music service, operating from hairdressers and beauty salons, called Music HiLites. The second prize winner and the recipient of a £500 cheque was Nico Kolokythas, who plans to establish a website for sports science support, called ithinksport.


Awarded first place in the Social Enterprise category was Ased Naseem. His Great Uni Booksale idea, which is an opportunity to buy and sell text books at organised sales twice a year, clinched the £1,000 prize. The second prize in this category was £500, which was awarded to Lukasz Rzymyszkiewicz and his idea for Polhelp, a translation service aimed at the Polish community in the UK.