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SMEs: A helping hand to innovate

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Lancaster University Management School is launching a programme to equip Cumbrian SMEs with the tools they need to innovate and grow.

It represents a unique opportunity for local businesses to access specially designed support for innovation development.

Starting in October, the Innovation Development Programme is open to senior decision-makers at Cumbrian SMEs with ambitions to explore new markets and identify opportunities for product or service development.

LUMS logoThe six-month programme will give participants the skills to introduce and embed an entrepreneurial mind-set in their organisation and the ability and confidence to adapt to changing environments.

The programme comprises one overnight experiential at Brathay Hall, near Ambleside, workshops delivered by Lancaster’s world-leading academics and local business experts, a tour of operations with a large regional business, and access to masterclasses.

In addition, there is a significant element of peer-to-peer learning, where participants develop and learn from each other.

Workshops will cover topics such as customer, market and competitor analysis; idea generation, testing and validation; developing business models; and creating an entrepreneurial culture.

Helen Wilkinson, Programme Delivery Manager at Lancaster University Management School, said: “Change is accelerating at an ever-increasing pace and for business this means exciting new opportunities.

This is a unique programme, which brings together the specialism from the Management School and access to the University’s cutting-edge equipment to test ideas and take their business to the next level.

“This is a unique programme, which brings together the specialism from the Management School and access to the University’s cutting-edge equipment to test ideas and take their business to the next level.”

Suzanne Caldwell, Deputy Chief Executive of Cumbria Chamber of Commerce and Project Manager of Cumbria Business Growth Hub, added: “Lancaster University Management School is a key partner in the business support we offer through the Growth Hub.

“The Innovation Development Programme is a great scheme offering a valuable service to businesses, and I’m sure we’ll be linking a number of clients into it.”

The programme will support 60 businesses over three years. It is part of the Cumbria Innovations Platform, which is part-funded through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and is available to ERDF-eligible companies.

Launched in June, the Cumbria Innovations Platform is a collaborative project between Lancaster University and the University of Cumbria. This is a £4.1m project, which is intended to accelerate innovation in Cumbria by driving transformative thinking and support the commercialisation of new ideas.

It provides access to a range of the latest science and technology equipment and expertise at Lancaster University worth over £45 million.

To find out more about the programme and to take a tour of the facilities based at Lancaster University, there will be a ‘Taster Morning’ taking place on Monday September 11. Places at this event are limited, contact p.cornwall@lancaster.ac.uk to apply for your place or to find out more information about the programme.

For more information please contact, contact Pete Cornwall (Business Liaison Officer) p.cornwall@lancaster.ac.uk or 01524 510728.

Lancaster University Management School (LUMS) is a quadruple-accredited, world-ranked management school, consistently among the UK’s top 10. Lancaster is one of the few business schools in the world to hold quadruple accreditation from AACSB, EQUIS, the Association of MBAs and the Small Business Charter.

ERDFThe Cumbria Innovations Platform has received £2,311,725 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Department for Communities and Local Government (and in London the intermediate body Greater London Authority) is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund.

Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information, click here.

© Cumbria Chamber of Commerce

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