Lancashire’s universities can provide under-pressure small businesses with a team of experts to give them a boost.
Nick Lancaster, from the University of Central Lancashire’s (UCLan) Knowledge Transfer team, said it can provide small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with talented graduates to act as trouble-shooters.
These highly-skilled youngsters can be set to work on overcoming a particular issue such as marketing, design or even boosting sales overseas through a ‘knowledge transfer partnership’.
Business support group Business Link North West, which has its head office in Fulwood, Preston, signed an agreement with the North West Universities Association (NWUA) to give firms access to this knowledge.
Mr Lancaster said: “All the evidence suggests that companies that get involved with universities see a dramatic impact on their bottom line.
“Whether it is for training for existing staff, future staff needs, developing export markets of whatever, the real direct and immediate benefits which these partnerships bring are there for all to see.
“In fact, our research shows that 80% of companies which do work with us in these type of programmes come back for further paid-for work because they see the benefits working with us brings.”
Business Link managing director Peter Watson urged companies to “reap the benefits” of working with universities which has been evident in similar agreements in the East Midlands and the North East.
NWUA skills director Celia Brigg said the agreement would see it form “a close working relationship” with Business Link.
She said: “By working in partnership we can more effectively service the region’s businesses as our members gain an improved understanding of what employers need from higher education.”