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25-Apr-2

Could a knowledge transfer partnership boost your business?

As a small business, every piece of knowledge and expertise you can gather is vital to help you grow – which is why exchanging ideas is a great way to help give your business a boost.

Small businesses thrive on ideas – whether it’s a new product, better way of working or a marketing idea. But as you only have limited staff, you can often have knowledge gaps in your company that are preventing you from growing into certain areas. This is where Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) can help.

What are Knowledge Transfer Partnerships?
The Government-run scheme connects businesses to educational institutions like universities to help them create and develop new ideas that will help the business to grow and innovate.

This usually takes the form of a graduate from the university working with the company on a specific project. The graduate will effectively be employed by the university, but work for the company as an associate for anywhere between 1 to 3 years.

The funding partly comes from a grant, with the businesses also contributing a set amount towards the scheme depending on the size of the business.

What are the benefits?
The main benefit is that a small business can bring in a specialist at a reduced cost that can help drive and complete a project.

For the university, it means their graduates are getting real life, on-the-job experience, while the university can also make connections in the business world.

Research from the government has found that businesses taking part in KTPs see their annual profits rise by more than £1 million on average, creating around 2 new jobs in the process.

For the academic partners, they produce 3 new research projects and 2 research papers for each project, while around 60% of the associates involved are offered a permanent job in the company when the project ends.

Can I apply?
Any sized business can apply, but you’ll need a good pitch to do so. This usually means having a specific project and a skills gap.

For companies that already have a working connection with a university or other education body, contact them directly about setting up a KTP. For those that don’t, seek out your local KTP adviser.

As the KTP is part-funded by a grant, most businesses need to contribute to the cost of the supervisor and the salary of the associate. For small to medium-sized business, this is usually around a third of the cost – an average of around £23,000 per year. For larger companies, this rises to around half the cost – or around £30,000 per year.