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News - 4 March 2014
Sonia Blizzard

£400,000 of programmes to boost businesses

The University of Brighton has won over £400,000 of funding for new Business Growth Programmes which will include a variety of support options for small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) that want to expand and for companies in environmental and low-carbon sectors.

Support on offer includes help with applying for business growth grants, knowledge exchange, development programmes for business owners and managers, internships and training courses focusing on key areas such as managing innovation and internationalisation. All of the programmes are subsidised up to approximately 60% through a variety of funding streams including the government’s Regional Growth Fund.

 Chris Baker, Director of Economic and Social Engagement at the University of Brighton, said: “This valuable funding means that hundreds of companies, particularly SMEs, will be able to access support from the university which might previously have been beyond their financial reach. We have also made it easier for businesses to find out about the support we offer by setting up a dedicated Business Helpdesk to respond to all enquiries.”

 For example, he said, the well-known Knowledge Transfer Partnership programme model is now being adapted and offered on a more flexible basis so that clusters of companies can get together to jointly benefit from a strategic project, led by a recent graduate and supported by a university expert. 

 In addition, the university’s Profitnet programme re-launches in March to offer development support to around 60 business owners or managers who want to grow their businesses to the next level.  One previous Profinet member, Sonia Blizzard, of IT company Beaming, started her business in 2005, and by 2011 appeared in the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 list which tracks the country's fastest growing technology companies.

  Sonia said: "Profitnet was definitely the catalyst for many of the initiatives which have produced this growth. The advice from my peers and the specialist training that I received through Profitnet helped me to think more strategically and confidently which has resulted in a real step-up in terms of the size of the business – now we are competing against the well-established giants in the sector."

 In addition, internships are being offered to companies that would like to introduce a graduate into the business, with a view to a longer-term employment. The University of Brighton will also support businesses in their applications for business growth grants from the Regional Growth Fund run by Coast to Capital and Greater Brighton City Region.

 For information about these services, contact the University of Brighton business helpdesk on 01273 643098 or

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