Assessing market potential - scheme for small businesses

Issue date: 11 February 2005


Issue date: 11/02/05

The QuickMark scheme, developed by the University of the West of England and providing rapid initial marketing analyses for businesses, has just been awarded a further £55,000 to extend the service until the end of 2005. The first year of operation of the scheme has resulted in 20 completed QuickMark analyses.

Satisfied clients include the specialist travel company, Brilliant Weekends, who were extremely impressed with the approach. Managing Director Richard Dennys said:

“The report gave us confidence to move into a new market area, and the knowledge to know how to address issues associated with it before we even start. In a pioneering sector there’s no track to follow and it was very reassuring to have time and resources to help develop the next steps. It is an extremely beneficial service for any small business.”

QuickMark provides initial market analysis for small businesses that have identified an innovative new product, process or service. The service is led by UWE in collaboration with the University of Bath. MBA or Masters degree students carry out research to an agreed agenda and produce a business report to help the company undertake its next step by identifying the broad market potential of its idea and any critical issues that could affect success.

So far, there have been 50 referrals to the service and 20 analyses carried out, with positive feedback received from the majority of clients. Eight researchers have been trained and one new business has been launched.

“Small businesses and start-up companies in the West of England until recently had little means of evaluating innovative ideas where market research data is limited,” said Rebecca Difford, project manager for QuickMark from UWE’s Centre for Research, Innovation and Graduate Studies.

“Such market research is expensive and time consuming for smaller businesses to arrange. UWE developed QuickMark based on a model used by the University of Texas.”

The successful service is part of the Business Innovation West project, led by Business West, and funded through Inspire SW programme. Inspire South West is funded by the SWRDA and the European Union’s Innovative Actions programme, and aims to promote innovation in the South West of England. This is achieved by encouraging SMEs to value the contribution that innovation can make to improve their productivity and business competitiveness. Also involved in the partnership, assisting to promote the schemes and refer key clients, are project leaders Business West, the University of Bristol, Bath Spa University College and South West Screen.

Clive Wray of Business West said:
“Innovation is the key – we need a mechanism to link good ideas from Universities with businesses that can bring innovative products and services to the market. We can achieve more together than as individuals.”

For further information on the project, contact rebecca.difford@uwe.ac.uk tel: 0117 32 83860.

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