Lancaster University is to take a leading role in a £32m Government programme to maximise economic growth in 16 cities across the UK.
It will work with ministerial departments and the Cabinet Office Cities Policy Unit to support places including Coventry, Reading and Stoke.
Money from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund will help the cities support their local businesses and help them provide access to national and local support packages.
Lancaster University, which was named as a top-ten university for SME (small and medium sized enterprises) engagement, successfully bid to run the Regional Growth Fund for City Deals programme, largely due to the success of its management school.
Dr Ellie Hamilton, associate dean and founder of the university’s institute for entrepreneurship and enterprise development, who will lead the project, said: “We have demonstrated our credentials over a number of years and through different programmes, which have had outstanding impact for business.
“We draw on our research understanding to help not only businesses, but also those that support business to implement what we know works.
“Lancaster’s involvement in the Regional Growth Fund for City Deals is a strong endorsement of our approach and expertise in supporting business and Local Enterprise Partnerships in producing demonstrable economic growth.”
The university intends to set up a peer-networking programme for cities devised by management school academics, allowing cities to share experiences and problems .
Minister for Cities, Greg Clark MP, said: “Small businesses are the lifeblood of the UK’s local economies, and the Government in Westminster can never be a substitute for local knowledge and support.
Lancaster University’s expertise in helping small businesses combined with the local knowledge of councils adds up to a boost to local growth in our cities.”