Partnership with Webmart graded 'outstanding'

Tuesday, 03 June 2008

A partnership between Oxford Brookes and Webmart, Europe's leading low cost print management company, has been graded 'outstanding'

A partnership between Oxford Brookes and Webmart, Europe's leading low-cost print management company, has been graded 'outstanding'.

The £87K project involved analysing Webmart's market position, identifying areas for potential development, and integrating these into Webmart's strategic planning and systems investment. It was partly funded through £59K of government Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) funding which was secured by Oxford Brookes University and Webmart in partnership.

Sales at Webmart almost doubled over the period of the project, to £37 million, and are forecast to increase by a further £30 million over the next two years.

The project finished in December 2007, and has since been given the highest possible grade of 'outstanding' by the government's KTP agency Momenta. The grade was awarded for the project's impact on management skills, business based training and academic research, and because of the lasting partnership developed between Oxford Brookes and Webmart.

Webmart's founder and MD, Simon Biltcliffe, was also named 'Director of the Month' by the Institute of Directors. Students at Oxford Brookes now have the opportunity to be involved with projects within the highly successful company.

Webmart is based in Bicester, Oxfordshire, and the relationship developed when Simon Biltcliffe took part in a year long 'Business Growth' programme run by Oxford Brookes Business School, following which Simon became a guest speaker for Brookes' MBA's Entrepreneurship elective. Webmart then became Oxford Brookes Business School's first Knowledge Transfer Partnership.

Nicolas Virtsonis led the project within Webmart, and as a result of its success has been appointed Research Director. He was supervised by direct marketing expert Sally Harridge-March of Oxford Brookes Business School. Nicolas said: 'The project was a huge success, and we are delighted that it has been externally recognised in this way. We are particularly pleased that Oxford Brookes students are now involved in real-life business projects within Webmart, and in fact one such project with MSc Marketing students has just been completed.'

Sally Harridge-March said: 'My colleagues in the Business School have long associations with local and international businesses in marketing and business development. We are keen to continue to support such projects which help businesses, develop up-and-coming executives, and also enhance our research and teaching capability.'

Currently Webmart is running the UK's largest print-buyer survey via 'Printelligence', a tool which was developed through the KTP: