Research and Enterprise

Introducing our new SME Engagement Manager - Kim Yallop

In August this year, Kim Yallop joined the Research and Enterprise service as our new Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (SME) Engagement Manager. In her first blog post, Kim tells us about her career background, what it was like to start a new job during lockdown, and what she looks forward to about her new role here at Leeds Beckett.

Jo Griffiths, Kim Yallop and Natalie Allen

My career has been mainly working within the private sector in customer relations management, sales and business development. However, three years ago I made the move away from a high pressure, very stressful career in strategic account management to the work of public sector growth management.

My passion is getting ‘under the skin’ of a business to understand everything about them from their strategy, ethos, and staff. Since becoming a growth manager, I have worked with so many fascinating businesses, and learned so much about my home county of Yorkshire. You’d be amazed at what is on your doorstep here, from a Le Mans racing team to food scientists, tech wizards and some of the most incredibly diverse manufacturing businesses. I would never have known about any of it had I not made the move - and it makes me very proud to be a ‘Yorkshire lass’.

After just under three years as a growth manager at both Wakefield and Kirklees Councils, I saw an opportunity to work for Leeds Beckett. I jumped at the chance to move from a more ‘sign posting’ type role to ‘hands on’ - in implementing bespoke support for business. I have worked with Jo Griffiths – our Post Award Team Manager here in the Research and Enterprise service - in the past, and was extremely impressed with her work ethic. Her approach is always ‘what’s best for business’ with no other agenda. This has always been my key focus so I just knew it I would be a fantastic chance to learn from someone aspirational to me.

Starting a new job in lockdown has been a bit strange; but we have adapted my induction so that I am still meeting people ‘in the flesh’ following social distancing guidelines of course. I have spent the last 15 years being field-based, so the remote working isn’t really a massive change for me. I have always had to be very self-motivating and, apart from all the Skype and Teams calls, it’s business as usual. 

I’ve been saying for years that businesses should look at more flexible working arrangements - and removing the daily commute makes us all so much more effective - not to mention the environmental benefits. So I think we should all take the positive developments of 2020 away with us. 

One thing I am missing however, is visiting customer premises – there is no better way to see ‘behind the curtain’ and I really look forward to doing that again……hopefully in the near future.

My big focus now is to engage with our region’s businesses and show them the fantastic opportunities we have to support them - from Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs) and the new Management KTPs, Accelerate and Small Business Leadership programmes, through to the University Business Centres, collaborative working, graduate placements and beyond – I want to continue to spread the word that Beckett means business in regards to innovation, support and growth.

You can contact Kim at or on 07557 213 958.

Image: Kim (centre) with colleagues Jo Griffiths (left) and Business Development Manager Natalie Allen (right).

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