Management Knowledge Transfer Partnerships – A New Way to Grow Small and Medium Sized Enterprises in the Region
Innovation is a key to sustained business success. In this blog, Jo Griffiths provides an insight into the introduction of Management Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (mKTPs) by Innovate UK as an incentive to encourage university – industry collaboration and improve business productivity and performance.
Leeds Beckett University has been a consistent and enthusiastic participant in KTPs for almost 40 years. In recent years, Innovate UK funding has focused on STEM subjects and this has limited the opportunities for Business Schools to engage with KTPs. However, last year heralded a very welcome change in focus with the introduction of the new mKTP. Built on evidence in the Business Productivity review (Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy), mKTP focuses on the importance of leadership and management practices in improving business productivity. For those of us working with the small and medium sized community (those employing up to 250 people) this is a refreshing and welcome focus on what we’ve known for a long time – there are lots of SMEs with high growth potential that can achieve much more through investment in leadership and management.
Government support for this initiative is impressive- £25m over a five year period and Leeds Business School is open to collaborative working with businesses to access this resource and support business productivity improvements in the region. We’ve made a great start. Since the first dedicated submission for mKTP in February 2020, Leeds Beckett has submitted three applications with local SMEs – two have already been funded; a decision on the third is awaited. We are able to mobilise quickly for several reasons: excellent links with the local business community; an ability to quickly identify potential projects and opportunities and crucially, because the applied nature of our teaching and research, we are ideally suited to deliver the innovation projects that mKTP funds.
The projects focus on embedding core capabilities, tools and frameworks that provide the foundations for business growth. The projects align different initiatives in an overarching management strategy that help businesses plan to scale sustainably. Our current projects include process improvement; strategic decision making; operations management; strategic marketing; HR management and organisational development. These projects provide opportunities for academics with an interest in working with businesses to work with a dedicated associate employed by the business to support innovation and improve productivity.
Recovery and resilience is in an emerging theme as businesses adjust to the new post-COVID world including new collaborations, supply chain models or re-shoring opportunities. As with all KTP projects a focus on the commercial returns is vital – detailed market analysis to identify new opportunities; entrepreneurial thinking that facilitates new revenue streams and business scale up practices that improve turnover and grow margins.
For information on a recently awarded project with Wakefield based Global Doors: https://www.leedsbeckett.ac.uk/news/0620-university-partnership-opens-doors-for-ambitious-interiors-firm/