If you’re looking to develop your team and grow your business, KEEN (Knowledge Exchange & Enterprise Network) is a scheme you need to know about!
The business improvement programme, part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), is designed to help SMEs increase profitability and achieve sustainable growth through working with a regional university.
It offers a package of support worth up to £16,000 to take on a graduate to build your business.
But the deadline is looming for applications – the scheme and funding only runs until October 31 so you need to apply as soon as possible.
What are the benefits for business?
By working with a university, your business will gain:
• a graduate (known as an Affiliate) working full-time on a bespoke project within your business
• continuing support from a nominated university liaison officer
• ongoing mentoring and support from university experts for the Affiliate, ensuring that project objectives are met
• access to the university’s resources, including facilities and expertise
• access to an equipment and travel budget.
How does KEEN work?
KEEN offers a level of flexibility to companies who are yet to realise their full potential.
This is made possible through the transfer of knowledge into the business via a recent graduate who is recruited to work full-time on a growth project, developed in association with the university, for six to 18 months.
The university supports the company from application stage, during recruitment and for the lifetime of the project. Meetings are held regularly to ensure the project is on track and delivering results for the business.
It’s open to a vast range of organisations including SMEs at pre-innovation level and micro businesses if they can show the right commitment to the scheme.
One of the key benefits of KEEN is the fast turnaround time. From application to approval is usually around three weeks, so recruitment times are minimised and projects can start quickly, helping you put those plans into action as quickly as possible.