Up to 600 new jobs have been created by pioneering projects at Lancaster University aimed at helping to transform the fortunes of the regional economy, a new report has revealed.
Ground-breaking personnel development and business support and initiatives – where academic experts worked closely with business owners to improve performance – have seen dramatic results:
- Micro enterprises, with less than 10 employees, saw an average increase in annual sales of 167 per cent.
- Enterprises which did see an increase grew sales on average by £499,000 in just a year.
The findings came in a new study which also revealed that, for every £1 of grant money spent by Lancaster University per enterprise, between £2.40 and £4.30 of extra sales were generated by the business.
Almost eight out of every 10 enterprises assisted by the university had developed a more strategic approach or vision for the future, with 85% of those attributing it directly to Lancaster’s intervention.
The in-depth report calculated the number of new jobs created over a two-year period.
In the past six years, the University has supported more than 2,000 regional businesses, social enterprises and community organisations through a range of economic regeneration programmes.
Academics there are pioneering new approaches to business support to help address a £13 billion annual shortfall in the North West economy – the equivalent of £2,000 per person.
Roderick O’Brien, Director of Research and Enterprise Services, said: “As one of the leading UK research universities Lancaster has a huge amount of knowledge and expertise.
“In recent years we have been able to offer support and partnership to thousands of businesses across the region in areas from leadership development to specialist ICT support.
“It is tremendously gratifying to get a clear picture of exactly how the University has made a real difference – transforming profits and enabling enterprises to reach their potential.”
The University has eight dedicated enterprise support centres assisting businesses across the region to improve performance.
It commissioned the report to measure the tangible impact businesses were seeing from working with them.
The report revealed the average growth in employee numbers in organisations helped by the University ranged from between 12 to 14 full time equivalent jobs.
Lancaster has an international reputation for the quality of its research and teaching and a growing recognition for its knowledge exchange activities with businesses.
It is a leading research and teaching institution, ranked in the top 10 nationally for research quality. It is also ranked in the top 150 universities in the world.
Its acclaimed enterprise support centres include Lancaster University Management School – Institute for Entrepreneurship & Enterprise Development, Lancaster Environment Centre, InfoLab21, Lancaster University Product Development Unit, Lancaster Business Creation, Lancaster University Volunteering Unit, the Tourism Centre and the Innovation Unit.
They are largely funded through the European Regional Development Fund, the Higher Education Institution Fund and the Northwest Regional Development Agency.