University celebrates success of partnerships with the region’s small firms

11 July 2019

Programmes to create new jobs and provide expertise to help SME businesses grow were the focus of a Celebration of Success event held on Wednesday (10 July) at the University of Derby.

The event, hosted at the University’s Enterprise Centre on Bridge Street and attended by many local companies, showcased the successes of its work with small and medium-sized businesses in Derby, Derbyshire and the wider D2N2 local economic partnership region in recent years.

It also focused on the future, highlighting a range of business support schemes on offer from the University, helping companies identify graduate talent to fill high-level skills gaps, for example, as well as to access grants and loans to fund development and growth.

Julie Stone, Associate Pro Vice-Chancellor External Affairs at the University of Derby, said: “This event was a great way to celebrate the successes of our region’s SME businesses, which we and our partners have been able to play a significant part in, and to show others how we can help them too.

“We have a wide range of opportunities for businesses to engage with us and access support. Through our Careers Employment Service alone we are working with over 4,000 businesses, helping them access our student and graduate talent.”

The celebration took place at a time when the University is also asking businesses, residents and community organisations to participate in its Civic University Survey, to identify their challenges and priorities across Derby and Derbyshire, and to suggest how the University can help to develop solutions which have a lasting positive impact.

Professor Warren Manning, Pro-Vice Chancellor Dean of the College of Engineering and Technology, said: “The University of Derby is committed to driving prosperity across the region and using our knowledge, research and innovation to raise skills and aspirations. That very much includes the extensive range of support we can provide for businesses.

“Over the past few years, for example, our Invest to Grow Scheme, supported by the European Regional Development Fund and Regional Growth Fund, has provided £23m of funding for businesses and created more than 1,300 jobs as a result.

“Our knowledge exchange programmes are also helping companies to access graduate talent which can bring the skills and solutions that are essential for improved productivity, employee development and business growth.”

Examples of the University’s successful partnerships with business include helping Alfreton-based haulage firm Middlebrook Transport buy the larger site it needed to develop with the help an Invest to Grow loan. The assistance enabled the company to expand its fleet of trucks and hire seven new drivers.

The Enabling Innovation scheme, again supported by the ERDF, helped Synergy Environmental Ltd to realise the full potential of the biomass cooking system the company had developed. The partnership with the University also boosted the credibility of the product when the company took it to the market.

And north Derbyshire firm Recon Electrical has benefitted from working with the D2N2 Low Carbon Business Network, also led by the University of Derby, to improve the efficiency of LED lighting and to access new customers and markets.

Companies who want to explore the University of Derby’s support offer for business cam find out more by calling 0800 001 55 00 or emailing

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