17 August 2017 11:27

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

The programme 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. The 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 Braythay Hall, in 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."

The Innovation Development Programme will support 60 businesses over three years. The programme 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 new 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. The project 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 11th September. 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.