Lancashire businesses are thriving thanks to Edge Hill University providing support to make them more profitable and innovative.
University business specialists can help companies based in the county discover how their data can provide invaluable insights, helping shape new products, services and business models to make them become more profitable.
Based in the Productivity and Innovation Centre (PIC) in Ormskirk, the facility offers a gateway for Lancashire-based small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to access a range of expert support.
Burnley company Door4, an e-commerce agency based in Manchester Road took part in the scheme, the Profitable Innovation Programme led by Professor Simon Bolton.
Leon Calverley, Managing Director at Door4 said the experience had “quite literally changed our business.”
“We now recognize that prior to the programme our value proposition was rather vague and did not sufficiently focus on delivering solutions to the needs of our clients,” he said. “Working with the PIC team, we swiftly evolved our thinking from what we do, to what pain points we can relieve, and how we can most effectively turn this into ongoing revenue.”
The Programme consists of four workshops that have been tailored to benefit small and medium sized organisations. The workshops offer SMEs the opportunity to engage in innovation to develop new products, services and business models to increase profits, support growth and adapt to a changing competitive landscape.
The intense workshops are facilitated by academic business experts and are underpinned by business data that is transformed into invaluable insights using big data technology and secondary desk research.
Simon Bolton said, “The impact of the Programme is beginning to speak for itself. We are receiving more and more referrals from the businesses who have completed the Programme, demonstrating the significant value they place on their experience. We are continuing to work with these SMEs to help them achieve their objectives through a variety of additional support including work placements, internships through to Knowledge Transfer Partnerships. On completing the Programme SMEs have clarity of who their customers are and market demand. They are able to establish clear messages and efficient business models. Many have introduced new services and have secured new customers as a result.”
OakTec, which is an Engineering Research company in Cockerham, Lancaster, used the programme to help make sense of their core commercial opportunities for their Pulse-R technology. Tom Harrison, Director, said: “The most valuable element of the programme was the opportunity to get so much of the critical information out of my head and sift it into an understandable form that allowed me to look at it holistically and develop a strategy and business plan around that.”
The Country Range Group, specialising in food service buying, based in Altham near Accrington has also taken part. Coral Rose, Managing Director said: “Completing the Programme didn’t just provide us with a focus to the problem in-hand, it enabled a focus on different areas of the business.”
Edge Hill University is a key resource to support profitable SME growth in Lancashire. The Productivity & Innovation Centre (PIC) at the University is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund, securing £586,486 to support the delivery of the project. The project launched in Dec 2017 and continues to December 2020.
The PIC aims to support Lancashire based SMEs to improve the productivity of their innovation practices, expertise and capabilities within the region.
Find out more about the Profitable Innovation Programme and PIC here.