KEEP+ programme to help SMEs in the East launch new products and services
A £9.3m initiative to help smaller firms unlock access to European Union funding, university expertise and graduate talent is being rolled out across East and South-East England.
The KEEP+ programme is open to SMEs across four Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) areas, with the aim of enabling businesses to develop and launch new products and services.
Anglia Ruskin University is lead organisation for the project, with other delivery partners including the East of England Local Government Association (EELGA) and the universities of Suffolk, Essex, Hertfordshire, Kent, Greenwich and Brighton.
The three-year programme, which has received funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), is open to SMEs trading in the New Anglia, Greater Cambridgeshire/Greater Peterborough, South East and Hertfordshire LEP areas.
Benefits available include access expert advice, funding and support from graduates and researchers across the whole of the UK research base in order to accelerate innovation projects and reduce the risks involved in new product development.
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Projects supported will typically last between three and 12 months and are intended to create long-term collaborations between companies and universities, with lasting impacts such as new jobs and market growth for the companies involved.
KEEP+ follows on from the successful Low Carbon KEEP programme (also funded by the ERDF) which created 85 new jobs and helped more than 200 SMEs in the East of England increase their competitiveness, productivity and profits.
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KEEP+ is one of the EU structural and investment fund projects which Chancellor of the Exchequer Phillip Hammond has guaranteed will be fully funded, even when these projects continue beyond the UK’s departure from the EU.
Carole Randall, KEEP+ programme manager, said: “Following the success of the Low Carbon KEEP programme, we are delighted to secure a further allocation of ERDF funding, totalling £9.3m.
“Over the next three years KEEP+ will be able to accelerate innovation across the across the four LEP areas, by enabling SMEs to access specialist expertise to generate new products and services.
“We had experienced significant interest in KEEP+ prior to the official launch, and the programme team and delivery partners are pleased to be actively engaging with interested businesses.”
SMEs that are interested in taking part in KEEP+ should contact Carole Randall by email to email@example.com.