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Educate North Awards recognise University's business support

Rob McLoughlin OBE presents the Commercial Engagement Award to Lancaster University's Helen Fogg and Dion Williams

05 June 2015

Lancaster University’s work to support businesses and the economy has been recognised in the inaugural Educate North Awards.

The University picked up the Commercial Engagement Award at a ceremony held at The Hilton Manchester Deansgate on 3 June.

Lancaster University is strongly focused on working with business. It employs around 80 staff in dedicated business-support roles, and their activity leads to many more academics and students working with around 600 businesses a year.

Helen Fogg, Head of Business Engagement in the Department of Entrepreneurship, Strategy and Innovation, said: "It was an honour to accept this award with Dion Williams, which recognises the breadth and depth of commercial engagement across the Management School and entire University."

Meanwhile, Professor Mark E. Smith, Vice-Chancellor of Lancaster University, said: “Lancaster University is strongly committed to working with businesses of all sizes but is particularly proud of the support it offers to small and medium-sized enterprises.

“Our significant business engagement activities reinforce Lancaster’s aim to positively impact the local community and regional economy, translate research into products and services, and ensure our students are highly employable.”

The Educate North Commercial Engagement Award is the latest recognition for Lancaster’s work with businesses. In 2014, the University received the Small Business Charter Gold award – one of only three nationally – in recognition of the role it has played in supporting enterprise.

Educate North judges said: “This was an outstanding application, which displayed Lancaster’s role in kick-starting British enterprise. The university has well-constructed and sustainable initiatives showing benefits to the university, the region and beyond.

“The established SME engagement model will now have a national application and benefit the sector as a whole."

An independent assessment identified Lancaster University to be worth at least £250 million to the regional economy, supporting more than 5,200 jobs, and worth £630 million to the national economy, protecting more than 10,000 jobs. 

Business engagement activities undertaken by experts within Lancaster University Management School formed a significant part of the University’s award.

The Wave 2 Growth Hub Programme – which the University was commissioned to lead by the Government – has led the creation of a national network of one-stop business support hubs. More than 48,000 businesses have engaged with their local Growth Hub. Informed by research from LUMS, the W2GH Programme is projected to create in excess of 2,500 new jobs and leverage £58 million from private-sector funds into local economies.

Significant support to hundreds of regional SME owner-managers has been provided by other LUMS programmes such as GOLD, Lancashire Forum (Historic) and Aspiring Businesses in Cumbria.

Another key project is the Lancaster China Catalyst programme. This initiative aims to forge partnerships between UK and Chinese companies in which graduate researchers work on collaborative research projects to develop products and services for global markets. The project is forecast to create 240 jobs within SMEs and boost the economy by £40 million.