Oxford Brookes delivers support for region's businesses, workers and entrepreneurs in challenging times

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Oxford Brookes University has pledged to support businesses, entrepreneurs and the unemployed with an investment of almost 1 million pounds.

At the start of Global Entrepreneurship Week (16-22 November 2009), Oxford Brookes University has pledged to support businesses, entrepreneurs and the unemployed with an investment of almost £1 million.

Brookes has successfully attracted £473.000 of investment from the Economic Challenge Investment Fund (ECIF), which aims to address some of the current economic challenges facing our region. The university is more than matching the investment with a support package of £526,000.

Brookes is offering places on two courses at a reduced rate through ECIF support:

  • 'Trading in Troubled Times' covers all aspects of surviving in business in a recessionary climate. The two day course includes finances, managing change, motivation, and developing markets.
  • 'Business for Starters' provides fledgling entrepreneurs with all the information they will need to set up in business. It is conveniently delivered through the web and by CD-Rom, backed up by mentoring support through Brookes business school.

Brookes' expert business advice can also be accessed through ECIF funding:

  • Twenty ECIF funded consultancy vouchers are being made available to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) based in the region. Worth up to £4,000, the vouchers buy around eight days of expert input to support innovation and business improvement.
  • Established companies of all sizes, from small enterprises to multinationals can benefit from the Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) scheme, for which a number of ECIF funded bursaries are to be provided. Charitable, public and voluntary sector organisations may also apply. The scheme, which has won national recognition for its work, brings an ambitious graduate, supported by a university specialist, into a company to lead a project to help improve profitability.

Simon Biltcliffe, Managing Director of Bicester based print management company Webmart UK is enthusiastic about his company's engagement in the KTP scheme. He comments: ';Our partnership with Brookes is very valuable. The Brookes associate gave us insights into our client base and pricing trends which we would not have had the time and knowledge to discover for ourselves. It has really contributed to our business success.'

All graduates from any university who are resident in Oxfordshire can also benefit from the funding which will enable them to access support from the Oxford Brookes careers service.

Another group which will receive support is the unemployed, or those facing unemployment in disadvantaged areas in Oxfordshire. They will be able to access basic skills courses aimed at getting individuals back into employment or self employment. For further information email: iwiddows@brookes.ac.uk

John Francis, Director of Research and Business Development at Brookes says:

'Brookes has always been very successful in helping businesses innovate and grow and in making a difference to individuals through education and skills. The Brookes ECIF investment further increases access to university expertise and the support which we will need to come through this recession and to be in a better position to prosper in the future.'

Brookes' home grown entrepreneurs and business experts will also be on hand during global entrepreneurship week when the university's alumni and staff take part in a speed networking event to give advice to past and present students about what Brookes can offer to support business in the recession.