Access £9.3m EU support funds for small businesses
The Knowledge Exchange and Embed Partnerships (KEEP+) is a business
support programme, supported by the European Regional Development Fund,
which enables small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to access
knowledge and expertise through collaboration with the University sector.
KEEP+ will provide your business with flexible opportunities for innovation,
with a focus on developing new products or services, increasing profitability,
reducing costs, providing opportunities to collaborate and accessing graduate
The range of interventions below can cover a wide variety of business
needs and scenarios, and all are subject to financial assistance
from the European Regional Development Fund and SME eligibility criteria
(see eligibility details below).
- Knowledge Exchange and Embed Partnership (KEEP)
A three-way collaboration between a business, a University and a graduate
employee who will work with the business to achieve agreed goals. (Limited
capital funding may also be available to support the approved collaborative
- Research and Innovation Collaboration (RIC)
A collaborative research and development activity for projects requiring
more feasibility work and greater levels of research support than a KEEP.
(Limited capital funding may also be available to support the approved
- Innovation internships
A 12-week placement within a company enabling graduates to work in a role
aligned with their qualification, and giving businesses access to the expertise
needed to bring their products or services to market.
Depending on which part of KEEP+ you access, benefits include:
- Access to academic experts and an enthusiastic graduate to spearhead your project and grow your business
- Obtaining access to and greater awareness of potential markets for development of your business
- Receiving assistance for the development and design of new products/services
- Increasing your competitive advantage
- Potential to increase your profitability
- Accessing support for innovation and business improvement
- Exploring new ideas
- Bringing new knowledge into your business
Funding and costs
The KEEP+ programme is a match-funded activity, with part of the cost of
each activity being met by the European Regional Development Fund and part by
the beneficiary SME. SME match funding contributions are generally 50% for
revenue costs and 70% for capital costs.
To qualify for KEEP+ funding, your business will need to meet the following
- Be considered as an enterprise; an enterprise is "any entity engaged
in an economic activity (the sale of products or services at a
given price, on a given/direct market), irrespective of its legal form".
- Have its registered head office within England, ideally within the programme's qualifying geographical area:
- Employ fewer than 250 people.
- Have either an annual turnover not exceeding 50 million euro, or an annual
balance sheet total not exceeding 43 million euro as evidenced by last approved
- Be no more than 25% owned by another company.
If your business meets the above criteria and you're interested in finding out more about
the KEEP+ programme, please get in touch.