Call for increased collaboration between universities and SMEs

A leading business group has said that SMEs and universities need to work more closely together to boost growth in the UK.

In a report which was published earlier this week, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) said that academics and entrepreneurs should look to devise more innovative ways of working together.

It believes that collaboration in such fields as research and development would deliver significant benefits for economies around the country.

At present, the report suggests that opportunities are being overlooked.

Mike Cherry, the FSB’s national chairman, said: “Both small businesses and universities can have a big impact on their local community.

“Our report makes a clear case for universities and businesses investing time and resources in this mutually beneficial relationship.

“Places where small businesses would normally go for information such as LEPs or Growth Hubs, could become touchpoints, informing businesses about the benefits of, and opportunities for, engagement. We also want small businesses to be proactive too and encourage them to explore opportunities to engage and find new ways to make the most out of their relationship with their local university.”

Jo Johnson, the Minister of State for Universities and Science, supported the findings of the FSB’s report.

“Recent research shows small firms collaborating with them are up to 38 per cent more likely to develop and introduce new innovations to market, supporting growth and jobs,” she said.