University tears down ivory towers to the Advantage of local economy

BCU Advantage

Hundreds of West Midlands businesses will be given access to funding opportunities and advice from University experts as part of a new project aimed at boosting economic growth.

Birmingham City University launches its Advantage service tonight, providing organisations with detailed information on grants, academic expertise and connections with other businesses and potential employees. 

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Birmingham City University

Promising to help businesses 'Get Money, Get Knowledge and Get Connected’, the university said the move would “explode the myth of stuffy academics in ivory towers” by enabling local businesses to benefit from the expertise of its teaching staff.     

The project aims to underpin economic growth and continue the trend which has seen a quarter of West Midlands’ companies expand their workforce by more than 10 per cent over the last three years.

Professor Julian Beer, Pro Vice Chancellor (Research, Enterprise & Business Engagement) at the University, said: “Advantage gives us the opportunity to explode the myth of stuffy academics in ivory towers and open up our doors to the companies that are the heartbeat of this region’s economy.

“Government has already identified that the West Midlands can be an engine for growth in this country and we want this scheme to help provide the spark that really gets that engine started.”

As part of the service the University will become only the second educational institution in the country to provide organisations with free access to a database containing thousands of grants which can help fund business expansion.

Businesses will also be given access to research and projects taking place at the University and can call on members of nearly 1,000 academic staff - from fields including Law, Health, Education, Business and Architecture. 

The initiative will provide organisations with use of an online tool which is split into three sections,.

They will also be offered face to face advice and helped to speak to key business, policy and legislation figures from both within and outside the University.

The connections with innovative research and projects will support the city’s thriving start-up scene which saw it named as the most entrepreneurial city outside of the capital by Start Up Britain last year.

The University already works alongside some of the region’s biggest employers including Jaguar Land Rover.

BCU’s Advantage initiative has been designed to align with partners including the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP, the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce and Aston University. It works alongside the Chamber’s Growth Hub and the enterprise work of Aston University, delivered through Goldman Sachs 10,000 small businesses programme.

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