Your questions answered

What is KEEN?

The Knowledge Exchange & Enterprise Network (KEEN) is a new business improvement programme, part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), designed to help SMEs increase their profitability and achieve sustainable growth through working with a regional university.

It’s a three-way relationship between a graduate, a company and a university which can last from 6 to 18 months.

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
  • substantial funding throughout project
  • 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.

How much will KEEN cost my company?

Average company cost is £16,000 per annum. There is flexibility within the Affiliate salary range, allowing the company to appoint at various points on a generous scale.

How much will KEEN be worth to my company?

The great thing about KEEN is that you’re only paying half of the true project cost.

So, based on the average company investment of £16,000, you’ll be getting a £16,000 package of support from the university in return, creating a total average programme value of £32,000.

Depending on the nature of your project, this doesn’t take into account the financial savings from business efficiencies or increased sales revenue that may be generated in the long term.

What makes KEEN special?

KEEN is highly responsive. Turnaround from application to approval is typically three weeks, meaning that recruitment periods are minimised and projects can start quickly, helping businesses to move forward and remain competitive.

KEEN is available to eligible SMEs who are at pre-innovation level. Graduates can be national or international, ensuring that the best talent and skills are recruited to the project.
Unlike many knowledge transfer schemes, business process and innovative marketing programmes may be eligible for funding. Micro businesses may also be considered if they are able to demonstrate a commitment to the management of the Affiliate.

How can we help?

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