Bristol businesses to benefit from academic expertise

Issue date: 16 October 2012

Business Meeting

Businesses in Bristol are set to benefit from a new scheme led by a team of UWE Bristol academics with funding from the ESRC [Economic and Social Research Council]. The UWE team, led by Professor Nicholas O'Regan, will work closely with local businesses to find out what businesses need to enhance their competitiveness. The team includes marketing expert Dr Tim Hughes and business transformation specialist Dr Glenn Parry.

Many businesses have the potential to grow but lack the knowledge and impetus to do so. UWE has expertise in many areas that could enhance the competitiveness of local firms, many of whom have never considered that universities could benefit them. Leading academics at UWE carry out research into key areas that could benefit businesses, and this project will work to bring both sides together, developing business access and academics skills in business engagement.

The funding will raise the awareness of the knowledge and skills available from UWE and provide access to leading academic thinking in a range of disciplines.

Peter McCarthy, Director of Radius Enterprise Centre, welcomed the project. He said, “This project will lead to the development of an on-going academic-business engagement support network. This will focus on business leadership and decision-making, supporting small businesses to become medium sized and medium sized businesses in growing further.”

Professor O'Regan said, “This is an innovative approach where academic–business engagement can co-create ideas and knowledge. There will be opportunities for regular meetings and networking, and opportunities to share knowledge. For example business may want help understanding how best to approach an activity such as applied marketing and we will be able to look at the available research, provide them with the most up to date knowledge in this area. In addition, they will have access to academic and practitioner marketing experts. Other examples might relate to dealing with recent legislative changes in the Human Resources field to budgetary issues from the finance arena.”

The project will:

*identify firms with growth potential

*establish a range of specialist forum activities where business can discuss leading thinking in areas such as marketing, human resources, innovation, finance and legal issues to meet three times a year. These will be held immediately before the highly regarded Distinguished Executive addresses.

*provide further in depth assistance to selected companies

*arrange a variety of engagement workshops with international experts and distinguished professors from the UK and overseas arranged thematically

*enable discussions with highly regarded UK business leaders

*culminate in an annual Business Summit where all firms get an opportunity of engaging with the University and network with each other as well as hear from contemporary high profile experts on business enhancement and growth.

Gerry Jones, Regional Chairman of the Institute of Directors said, “This project will undoubtedly help businesses by facilitating access to leading academics.”

All growth orientated firms should contact UWE to express an interest in the project and to nominate staff members for the various forum activities.

Participation in the project is free. As spaces are limited, early expressions of interest are recommended. For further information please contact Nicholas O'Regan on 0117 32 86433 or e-mail:

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