Fri 10 Feb 17
A new £9.3m programme open for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to access funding and expertise has been launched.
The KEEP+ programme aims to unlock access to EU funding, University expertise and graduate talent and is now available for small and medium-sized enterprises SMEs across the East and South East of England.
The KEEP+ programme is open to SMEs across four Local Enterprise Partnership (LEPs) Areas, enabling those businesses to develop and launch new products and services. Funding has been provided by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
KEEP+ is a partnership that unites eight delivery partners including the University of Essex plus Anglia Ruskin University as lead organisation alongside EELGA (East of England Local Government Association); University of Brighton; University of Suffolk; University of Greenwich; University of Hertfordshire and University of Kent.
The programme is running for three years and will be open to SMEs registered and actively trading in the four LEP areas that cover: Cambridgeshire, Peterborough and Rutland (Greater Cambridge/Greater Peterborough (LEP), Hertfordshire (Hertfordshire LEP), Suffolk and Norfolk (New Anglia LEP) and Essex, Kent and East Sussex (South East LEP).
Benefits available to local companies include being able to access expert advice, funding and support from graduates and researchers across the whole of the UK research base and to accelerate innovation projects and reduce the risks involved in new product development.
Projects supported will typically last between three and 12 months and will also create long- term collaborations between companies and universities and achieve lasting impacts such as new jobs and market growth for local companies.
KEEP+ follows on from the successful Low Carbon KEEP programme (also funded by ERDF) which created 85 new jobs and helped over 200 SMEs in the East of England increase their competitiveness, productivity and profits.
KEEP+ is one of the EU structural and investment fund projects which Chancellor of the Exchequer Phillip Hammond has guaranteed will be fully funded, even when these projects continue beyond the UK’s departure from the European Union.
Carole Randall, KEEP+ Programme Manager, said: "Following the success of the Low Carbon KEEP programme, we are delighted to secure a further allocation of ERDF funding, totalling £9.3m. Over the next three years KEEP+ will be able to accelerate innovation across the across the four LEP areas, by enabling SMEs to access specialist expertise to generate new products and services.
"We had experienced significant interest in KEEP+ prior to its official launch in January, and the programme team and delivery partners are pleased to be actively engaging with interested businesses.”
SMEs that are interested in taking part in KEEP+ should email Knowledge Exchange Manager at the University of Essex Ville Karhusaari at: firstname.lastname@example.org